Growing populations, expanding urban and declining forest areas and increasing
economic activity put increased pressures on terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
The growth in infrastructure alone to meet growing demands has a large
and increasingly significant impact across the region in all scenarios
(see chart below). Better planning, coordination and enforcement of land
use policies alleviates this somewhat in Policy First and Sustainability
First. The lack of such policies in a Security First world,
coupled with higher population growth, leads to impacts almost as large
as in Markets First, even with much slower economic growth.
|Land area impacted by infrastructure
expansion: Asia and the Pacific (% of total land area)
All sub-regions in Asia and the Pacific
show a similar pattern between scenarios as infrastructure
Source: GLOBIO (see technical
|Natural Capital Index: Asia and the
An index of 100 is the situation when
total land area is undomesticated and all pressures are below
the minimum threshold (see technical annex).
Reduction in the Natural Capital Index indicates habitat loss
and increasing pressure on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.
Pressures on biodiversity increase between 2002 and 2032 in
Source: IMAGE 2.2 (see technical
|Key to charts
At the same time as infrastructure is expanding, changing climate affects
biodiversity, resulting in significant reductions in the quantity and
quality of natural capital in some sub-regions over the next 30 years.
As with other pressures, these differ significantly across the sub-regions,
with the most significant pressures on biodiversity occurring in South
and Southeast Asia under all scenarios (see above).
Finally, increases in trade affect biodiversity, particularly in the
worlds of Markets First and Policy First. Under Security
First conditions, reductions in trade and greater control of the exploitation
of particular areas may actually benefit biodiversity in these areas,
whereas other areas suffer from lack of control.
Some of these pressures on biodiversity are countered in a Policy
First world by regional cooperation to reduce illegal extraction and
establish more protected areas. In a world of Sustainability First,
advances in technology enable real-time identification and monitoring
of biodiversity assets and sensitive ecosystems. Communities are better
equipped with knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of environmental
systems, tools for strategic assessment and planning. Over time this results
in a greater representation of species, communities and genes within protected
areas. Maintenance of endemic genetic stocks provides valuable source
materials for biotechnology advances, captures benefits for local communities
and reduces opportunities for invasive species to take over.
|Population living with hunger: Asia
and the Pacific (%)
Average incomes rise in all subregions,
contributing to a drop in the percentage of the population
that is hungry. However, rapid population growth can lead
to an increase in the incidence of hunger, even as the percentage
of people at risk declines.
Source: PoleStar (see technical
|Population living with hunger: Asia
and the Pacific (million persons)
All the pie charts show total region
impacts. The top left pie shows the current situation, the
relative size of the others reflects the magnitude of impacts
by 2032 under the four scenarios.
Source: PoleStar (see technical
Relevant environmental trends, along with the distribution of economic
growth and effectiveness of social policies, are reflected in the incidence
of hunger in the region (see charts above). The percentage of people experiencing
hunger remains high in much of the region in Markets First and
Security First. With growing populations, this implies only slight
reductions in absolute numbers in the former and small increases in the
latter. Dramatic improvements are possible, though, as seen in the Policy
First and Sustainability First results where there are steep
reductions in both the percentage and the total hungry. In the Policy
First scenario this is achieved through a combination of relatively
high growth and more equitable income distribution. In the Sustainability
First scenario it comes about as greater equity both between and within
countries is reflected in rapid economic growth and a narrowing of income
|Imagine ... widespread surface and groundwater
contamination in Asia and the Pacific
Rapidly growing populations and economies escalate demand for food
and living space, leading to greater intensification of agriculture.
More irrigation and fertilizer use in rural areas, together with
unimpeded growth of urban centres and mega-cities, mean more competition
for water resources between geographic regions and economic sectors.
This rivalry reaches crisis proportions around 2010, when the quality
of surface and ground waters across the region begins to go into
widespread, rapid and accelerating decline. The surface water changes
are a reaction by aquatic ecosystems to the cumulative loading of
nitrogen and other organic materials from inadequately treated agricultural
and municipal solid waste. The impacts on groundwater arise from
the run-off of chemical fertilizers and pesticides from agriculture
as well as toxic materials from industry. The effect is enhanced
by the more rapid extraction of groundwater resources, resulting
in a further increase in the concentration of these pollutants in
the remaining groundwater as well as increased rates of salt water
intrusion in the region's extensive coastal areas.
In the case of ...
- Some agricultural production is affected and food prices rise
significantly, stimulating increasing food trade within the region
and imports from other regions.
- Private biotechnology companies compete to provide genetically
engineered pollutant-eating bacteria.
- Private companies contract with urban governments to transport
uncontaminated water from other regions, including freshwater
in the form of icebergs from the Antarctic.
- Policies to move industry toward zero emissions production are
- Public investment into genetic engineering in order to produce
pollutant-eating bacteria increases.
- Water rationing is introduced and water saving devices distributed
to urban populations, where treatment is unable to make up for
water lost due to quality declines.
- Policies to integrate water resources management into development
plans are promoted, with a focus on the integration of land and
water related issues within a river basin or water catchment area.
- Water resources are placed under public and private military
- There is a sharp increase in deaths related to water-borne diseases
such as cholera.
- The move toward more organic and low-input sustainable agriculture
receives a major boost as producers using these methods cope better
with the disruptions and are seen as having a neutral impact on
- Urban areas that have already implemented advanced water-saving,
waste reduction and waste treatment practices expand their campaign
to accelerate the introduction of similar practices across the
It can often take crisis situations to induce necessary changes
that lead to more sustainable practices. In any case, coping with
issues such as freshwater quantity and quality requires an integrated
perspective that recognizes interactions between sectors and the
potential for threshold effects in natural systems from cumulative
pressures. Part of this shift involves encouraging diversity in
agricultural and other economic systems so that when surprises and
crises occur, a versatile repertoire enables new strategies to be