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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