Ecological stewardship refers to the care, protection, and restoration of the Earth and its ecological systems—land, water, and air—that provide life-sustaining ecosystem services. Biologist Gretchen Daily identifies the following ecosystem services:

  • Purification of air and water
  • Mitigation of droughts and floods
  • Generation and preservation of soils and renewal of their fertility
  • Detoxification and decomposition of wastes
  • Pollination of crops and natural vegetation
  • Dispersal of seeds
  • Cycling and movement of nutrients
  • Control of the vast majority of potential agricultural pests
  • Maintenance of biodiversity
  • Protection of coastal shores from erosion by waves
  • Protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays
  • Stabilization of the climate
  • Moderation of weather extremes and their impacts
  • Provision of aesthetic beauty and intellectual stimulation that lifts the human spirit

Over time, however, human technology and activities have changed the balance of virtually every ecosystem system. Now, with many ...

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