As ecosystems have been altered, many of their goods and services—the food and freshwater, the regulating services, and cultural benefits they provide—are in jeopardy. Two thirds of the ecosystem services we depend on are degraded. This degradation will likely grow significantly worse in the first half of the 21st century. It threatens human well-being and the goals of development. But evidence is accumulating that taking an Ecosystems Services Approach can make development more sustainable by sustaining nature’s capacity to provide needed goods and services.
This guide assembles that evidence for use by a decision maker. It details the processes that they can use, beginning with a conceptual framework that links development and ecosystem services and ending with guidance for choosing policies to sustain ecosystem services.
By offering decision makers the conceptual and practical guidance for choosing policies that better attend to ecosystem services, this guide aims to help unite nature and development. Instead of solely working to protect natur from development, we may also begin to invest in nature for development.
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