Ecosystem services are benefits (typically in relation to people) that stem from ecosystems. Thus, ecosystem services are often highlighted when some people ask: why is conservation important? (particularly in terms of conserving ecosystems)
These services are easily explained across 4 categories:
Ecosystem process regulate many things which we benefit from.
- Carbon storage and cycling (which also indirectly aids the regulation climate)
- Decontamination of natural water systems
- Regulation of pests
Products that are created within ecosystems, that can be harvested/used by humans.
- Food, including seafood
- Energy (energy created from biomass is the most obvious example)
- Shells, feathers and other tokens used for fashion, decoration or worship
- Recreational benefits (eg. hiking in a beautiful forest)
- Spiritual benefits and historical benefits (eg. heritage and beliefs that involve nature)
- Cultural benefits (eg. the use of nature in artworks, books and other media)
- Educational benefits (eg. scientific discovery, and inspiration to young learners)
Processes that are needed to allow for ecosystems to provide other services.
- Soil formation and maintenance
- Nutrient cycling