I don’t even want to imagine a world without ecosystem services! Although our continual neglect to see the value in some of these services may just be our biggest mistake yet!
Ecosytem services are naturally occurring processes that the environment provides, which we then use as much needed resources such as clean air, water, food and materials. These ecosystem services can be broken into 4 sub-categories;
- Supporting Services, which allows all the other services to function correctly e.g Nutrient recycling, water cycling, soil formation etc.
- Regulating Services, benefits received from regulation of ecosystem services e.g Carbon sequestration, air purification, pest and disease control etc.
- Provisioning Services, direct products we can obtain from our environment e.g food, water, medicine, energy etc.
- Cultural Services, non-material benefits we can obtain from our environment e.g recreational activities, therapeutic, education etc.
Other than cultural services, these services are vital to our survival on this planet! It is hard to put a dollar value to some of these services and perhaps is why they are so often neglected. Some provisioning services do however have a dollar value (billions of US$$) and still we can not see how valuable these services are as we continue to permanently damage them.
An example of a neglected ecosystem service is pollination;
For me even after providing the vital fundamentals of life, nature is beautiful and very therapeutic (cultural service). For basically relying completely on the one little insect, to continue life as we know it, we aren’t doing a very good job at looking after it.We should be giving them as much attention as we give cows as without them, there’s no us!
But it’s not only about food! Regulating services such as clean air is pretty darn important in my book. Sadly we continue to knock down forests for agriculture, mining or for the actual materials that make up a forest (another provisioning service).
If you think about it these ecosystem services are all around us! And although we love to think we are in control, we clearly aren’t.
The ocean happily does us the favour of absorbing of atmospheric CO2 and holding it captive in a process called carbon sequestration. Which is extremely important when we continuous keep releasing carbon dioxide (CO2 ) into our atmosphere. With global warming rapidly getting worst, sequestering carbon dioxide is vital! However protecting our oceans doesn’t seem to be of high priority.
The message I want you to take away from this blog is to protect our planet as much as you can. Push for cleaner energy, try to walk instead of drive, do not support companies that are knocking down entire rainforests (e.g. try not to buy products containing palm oil- trust me I know how hard that can be but it’s important so all you can do is at least try). Be more respectful of our planet. Think about the ecosystem services you can’t live without and change aspects of your daily life, so we can stay here a little bit longer. Cause even if you don’t care that much about the environment now, you will when sh*t hits the fan!
All photos were taken myself, go to the about page to find out more about me
To find out more about carbon sequestration click here.