Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect benefits that ecosystems provide humans. Agroecosystems, rangelands, and forests provide suites of ecosystem services that support and sustain human livelihoods. These services are typically broken down into four categories:

  • Provisioning services: the material or energy outputs from an ecosystem, including food, forage, fiber, fresh water, and other resources
  • Regulating services: benefits obtained through moderation or control of ecosystem processes, including regulation of local climate, air, or soil quality; carbon sequestration; flood, erosion, or disease control; and pollination
  • Supporting services: services that maintain fundamental ecosystem processes, such as habitat for plants and wildlife, or the maintenance of genetic and biological diversity
  • Cultural services: the non-material benefits that ecosystems provide to human societies and culture, including opportunities for recreation, tourism, aesthetic or artistic appreciation, and spirituality

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Tree mortality across the Musick Creek and Bald Mountain landscapes on the Sierra National Forest, High Sierra Ranger District

Webinar Summary In April 2017, the U.S. Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate hosted a webinar focused on drought and forest ecosystems. Scientists discussed how the ecological effects of drought and a changing climate interact with those of wildfire, insects,...

Drought and Forest Ecosystems

Oyster Castles scene from Living Shorelines virtual tour

Smart Phone or Tablet? We suggest jumping over here for an improved virtual experience!   Sea levels are rising, and storm intensity and rainfall are projected to increase as the climate continues to warm. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy showed the state of New Jersey the power of...

Living Shorelines

Climate change impacts to Wisconsin freshwater fish storymap

To explore how fish communities in Wisconsin lakes are expected to change in the future, and examine predictions for individual lakes throughout Wisconsin with an interactive map. This tool is relevant to lakeshed and community managers considering the future of recreation and...

Climate change impacts to Wisconsin freshwater fish

This field guide is designed to put useful climate change and adaptation information into the hands of natural resource professionals as they walk through the woods. This field guide provides summary information about the effects of climate change on northern Minnesota’s forests...

Climate Change Field Guide for Northern Minnesota Forests: Site-level considerations and adaptation

Piñyon decline in the Lincoln National Forest due to drought and insect infestations

The National Drought Resilience Partnership is an effort to promote stronger drought resilience on federal lands. As a part of this effort, the U.S. Forest Service conducted a series of focused workshops across the country to understand the management opportunities and...

Drought Impacts in the Southwestern Region

The economic, social, and environmental costs of drought can be significant, and vulnerability to drought in arid and semi-arid regions will likely increase in the future with a warming climate. To promote stronger drought resilience on federal lands, the National Drought...

Responding to Ecological Drought in the Intermountain Region

The U.S. Forest Service and USDA Climate Hubs convened regional workshops in many of the nine Forest Service regions throughout 2017. The workshops helped develop a set of local strategies and tactics to reduce, mitigate, and, in some cases, recover from the effects of drought. ...

Dealing with Drought in Forests, Grasslands, and Rangelands

Stand of birch trees in the northwoods

Climate trends in northern Minnesota point to a future that will be warmer and more variable, presenting greater stress for boreal species such as paper birch, white spruce, and balsam fir. Early public feedback on the proposed North Shore Forest Restoration Project indicated...

Superior National Forest: North Shore Forest Restoration Project

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