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Ecosystem Services

  1. The benefits people obtain from ecosystems. These include provisioning services, the products obtained from an ecosystem (such as food, fresh water, biological raw materials (i.e. timber, fiber, biomass fuel, and ornamental resources), biochemicals and pharmaceuticals); regulating services, the benefits obtained from an ecosystem’s control of natural processes (such as maintenance of air quality, climate regulation, water purification, pest mitigation and flood control); cultural services, the nonmaterial benefits obtained from ecosystems (such as recreational opportunities and educational and inspirational values); and support services, the natural processes that maintain the other ecosystem services, (such as nutrient and water cycling, habitat and primary production.) [Definition from the World Resources Institute: http://pdf.wri.org/esr_definitions_of_ecosystem_services.pdf]