China pilots “gross ecosystem product” evaluation
China has launched a pilot gross ecosystem product (GEP) evaluation system and Inner Mongolia’s Kubuqi will be the country’s first pilot area.
The GEP will measure the gross product of both natural and artificial ecosystems – including forests, deserts, wetlands, farmlands, pastures and aquaculture farms – and correspond to the gross domestic product of the area.
According to Huang Yi, an environmental sciences professor at Peking University, gross domestic product is a poor indicator of development qualities, as it is likely to leave out the effect economic development has on the environment and underestimate the value of ecological construction and restoration projects that usually take a long time.
For example, under the GDP evaluation the more-than-10-billion-yuan (USD1.6 billion) investment China Elion Resource Group has spent on make the Kubuqi Desert greener over the past two decades would have been deemed a poor deal, Huang said.
However, under the GEP system, the value of Kubuqi's ecosystem has soared from negative territory to more than 30 billion yuan (USD48 billion) over the past 20 years, according to Huang
Zhang Xinsheng, president of IUNC, said the pilot paves the way for integrating the GEP into national accounts systems, and introducing it globally.