What are Ecosystem Services?
Ecosystem Services are those irreplaceable benefits provided to humanity and the rest of biodiversity by ecosystems. According to the International Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Program, responsible for evaluating the impact of climate change on ecosystems and their conservation for the benefit of human well-being, these services are organized as follows:
Provisioning Services: resources and goods that we extract from ecosystems for the construction and manufacture of all kinds of elements of use to society, for example, the wood that we extract from a forest in order to build houses or manufacture paper, or the fibers we use to make baskets.
Regulating services: processes for regulation of natural phenomena, for example, pollination that facilitates the reproduction of the many species crucial to our diet, and regulation of the flow of water in drainage basins, which is vital for agriculture and to prevent erosion.
Cultural Services: ecosystems provide the basis for development of cultures, generating a sense of identity and belonging for their inhabitants.
Supporting services: ecosystems maintain larger-scale processes which provide support for other services, for example, the nutrient cycles that create fertile soils, and the production of oxygen by plants.