There have been recent advances in addressing the weaknesses in contemporary measures of welfare that are used to judge the progress and regress of nations. In this realm, a prominent indicator of well-being is ‘wealth’. The wealth indicator relies on the stocks of and ecosystem services, etc.); Produced Capital (machinery, buildings, etc); Human Capital (education, health, skills, etc.); and Social Capital (institutions, networks among people, etc.).
While considerable progress has been made in measuring asset values for natural capital, significant gaps still remain, particularly with respect to the inclusion of ecosystem services and the linkages to human well-being. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) reported in 2005 that 15 of the 24 ecosystem services assessed were in decline, with the major drivers causing these declines having occurred over the last 50 years. It goes on to report that many developing countries’ chances of achieving their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be in jeopardy if the present rate of ecosystem services decline continues.