Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services (ES) are frequently grouped in three main groups: provisioning services, cultural services and regulating and supporting services.

  • Provisioning services are the products delivered by ecosystems, such as genetic resources, food and fibres, and raw materials such as wood, reed, biomass for energy, …
  • Regulating services are the benefits from the regulation of ecosystem processes. Examples are: regulation of climate, water and some human diseases.
  • Cultural services are intangible advantages that humans obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, recreation and aesthetic experiences. Examples are: aesthetic values.
  • Supporting services are ecosystem functions which are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services. Examples are: biomass production, production of atmospheric oxygen, soil formation, food cycle, water cycle, and the natural environment.