A simple guide to ecosystem services

Whether people realise it or not, they receive many benefits from the natural world around them.These benefits from surrounding ecosystems (interaction of plants, animals and natural processes) are known as ecosystem services.

By understanding the interdependence of ecosystem services and attempting to quantify their value, it is possible to understand the balance of positive and negative impacts of a certain policy or management practice. This is fundamental in the ecosystem service approach, which aims to reduce the risk of unforeseen consequences by helping policy makers to make informed decisions whilst considering the full range of potential impacts.