Ecological Restoration and Ecosystem Services

Authored by: Robin L. Chazdon , José M. Rey Benayas

Routledge Handbook of Ecological and Environmental Restoration

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138922129
eBook ISBN: 9781315685977
Adobe ISBN:


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Ecosystems are the life support system for all of earth’s creatures. As originally defined by Daily (1997), ecosystem services are ‘the conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and the species that make them up, sustain and fulfill human life’. Collectively speaking, ecosystem services (ES) are the benefits that humans receive from nature. These include both goods (products) and services (processes) that generate livelihoods and support economic activity; provide food, water and shelter; cleanse the air; regulate climate; mitigate extreme weather events; and provide spiritual and recreational value to our lives. The list of goods and services that ecosystems provide is virtually endless; what is or is not an ecosystem service is determined by the context of human needs. For example, one large deer can provide all the meat needed by a family for an entire year. But deer also mediate tick-borne human disease and consume backyard vegetable gardens, ornamental plantings, and natural vegetation. One person’s ES can be another person’s ‘disservice’.

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