Ecosystem services and resource management

Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect contributions and benefits of ecosystems to human well-being

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Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect contributions from the components (biodiversity) and functioning of ecosystems that can provide benefits to human well-being. There are three categories of ecosystem services that are useful to humans which are all underpinned by biodiversity. These include: provisioning services, that are material or energy outputs from ecosystems (such as food, water and other resources); regulating services which are the services that ecosystems provide by acting as regulators (such as regulating the climate or quality of air or water, or moderating extreme events or natural hazards by providing flood control); and cultural services which include the non-material benefits that people obtain from contact with ecosystems including aesthetic, spiritual and psychological benefits (such as from recreation, tourism, inspiration for culture, art and design, and spiritual experiences). These services are all underpinned by natural capital assets: the fauna, flora and microbial communities and their functioning within marine habitats and ecosystems.
Marine natural resources can be better managed by management practitioners and decision-makers if an ecosystem service perspective is taken. This involves assessing the extent and condition of habitats that provide ecosystem services and identifying and quantifying their potential to provide different services; then evaluating the risks to, and trade-offs between the use of, the different services, including applying modelling tools to understand different options.
Ecosystem services and resource management
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