Ecosystem services are the myriad benefits humans derive from their natural surroundings and healthy ecosystems. Ecosystem services are the benefits of ecosystems, which help make human life possible and worthwhile. Regulated services are the benefits provided by ecosystem processes that moderate natural phenomena. Despite an estimated value of $125 trillion, these assets are not adequately accounted for in the political and economic policy. The same explains that there is insufficient investment in the protection and management of such services.

A regulating service is classified as any benefit obtained through natural processes and the functioning of an ecosystem. Regulating services are the benefits that ecosystems provide to the regulation of our environment: protection of coastlines, prevent erosion, purification of water, and storage of carbon. Provisioning services are characterized by humans’ ability to extract products from ecosystems, like food, water, and resources, including timber, petroleum, genetic resources, and medicines.

Cultural services comprise the non-material benefits humans can derive from ecosystems. Such services are non-material benefits derived from nature–recreation, beauty, and mental, intellectual, and cultural benefits. A cultural service is a non-material benefit which promotes human development and cultural progress, including how ecosystems are instrumental to local, national, and global cultures; building knowledge and disseminating ideas; creations that arise through interactions with nature (music, art, architecture); and recreation.

Some primary examples of ecosystem services include products like food and water, regulation of flooding, soil erosion, disease outbreaks, and non-material benefits like recreation and mental benefits from natural areas. Although nature’s value to humans has been recognized for some time, the concept of ecosystem services has been developed over recent years to describe these different benefits. Ecosystems–living elements that interact with one another and with their nonliving surroundings–provide benefits, or services, to the world.

Ecosystems are sources of food, water, medicines, timber, and biofuels, along with conditions that allow those resources to grow. Wetlands provide many valuable ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, water cleaning, plant and animal habitat, and reducing storm damage and flooding to neighbouring areas. In anticipation of widespread ecosystem changes and potential losses or changes to ecosystem service provision or distribution, landowners and managers may want to focus on strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacities of forests and prairies so that these landscapes continue providing vital benefits in the future.

There is an increase in forest loss worldwide, and there have been significant challenges facing efforts to safeguard forests and the ecosystem services they provide for sustainable development. The global community appears to be arriving at a critical turning point, with several recent developments pointing to a positive trajectory of progress. These developments include:

· New Policy Signals

Global policy drivers such as Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement—must play a role in achieving global development and climate change mitigation goals, sending a powerful political signal that the global community is committed to forest conservation, along with offering pathways for the provision of finance to facilitate the objective.

Furthermore, Global and national commitments for Forest Restoration are increasing yearly to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020 and nearly 350 million hectares by 2030. Presently, 160.2 million hectares have been pledged for restoration. However, achieving the 350 million hectare goal will generate about US$170 billion per year in net forest ecosystem service benefits in watershed protection, improved crop yields, and enhanced provision of forest products.

· Growing Investments

The Green Climate Fund is poised to be a significant new source of public REDD+ finance, having pledged $500M in October 2017 to pay for REDD+ offsets. Additionally, The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is one of the most extensive public-sector REDD+ financing programs globally that aims at moving closer to formally contracting offsets from its member countries.

Nearly US$1 billion in voluntary “forest carbon market” offset transactions have been reported since Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace first started collecting this data in 2009.

· Corporate Commitments

Corporate commitments to reduce emissions and deforestation are proliferating. They would help create new demands for forest carbon offsets and concerted action aimed at reducing deforestation associated with commodity production, which could lead to positive outcomes for securing forest ecosystem services.

· Advances in Technology

Rapid technological improvement enables frequent, accurate, cost-effective monitoring of forest cover change worldwide. The above will allow an unprecedented level of awareness concerning real-time threats to forests and provides governments with the tools needed to enforce laws and policies to conserve forests and ecosystem services.


The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, published in 2005, divided ecosystem services into four categories:

a. Provisioning services (the supply of goods) of direct benefit to people: These are often with a clear monetary value, like timber from forests, medicinal plants, and fish from oceans, rivers and lakes.

b. Regulating services (the range of functions carried out) by ecosystems: are often of great value but not monetary value in conventional markets. They include regulating climate by storing carbon and controlling local rainfall, removing pollutants by filtering air and water and protecting from disasters such as landslides and coastal storms.

c. Cultural services: These are the services that are not providing direct material benefits but contribute to the broad needs and desires of society. These include the spiritual value attached to particular ecosystems and are not directly beneficial to people but essential to the functioning of ecosystems.

Concluding, ecosystem services are complex in nature of any ecosystem; humans are generally assumed to derive benefits from the combinations of such services. Multiple services can usually be combined, and where benefits of targeted goals are assured, ancillary benefits can be provided too: a single forest can provide habitats for other organisms and recreation to humans, all of which are ecosystem services.

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *