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Ecosystem Services

  • By: Richard Alastair Lord
  • In: Green Business: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Nevin Cohen & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Sustainability, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Ecosystem services is a collective term to describe the range of valuable benefits that the natural environment provides for people, either directly or indirectly. These services fall into four basic categories: (1) the provision of food, water, fuel, and other materials; (2) the regulation of natural processes such as climate, water supply, and water or air quality; (3) the cultural services that natural systems contribute to our quality of life or spiritual well-being by providing beautiful landscapes and opportunities for recreation or education; and finally, (4) the supporting services that are essential to all of the other ecosystem services, such as soil formation, photosynthesis or nutrient cycling, the maintenance of biodiversity, and the space to build and maintain our supporting infrastructure. Recognition of the economic ...

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