Ecosystem services are a way of putting a value on biodiversity by looking at what it does and how we value the function that the soil performs. These produce a range of services which are essential to our health and well being (IPCC 2002).
- Clean air & water
- Cultural, spiritual & recreational values
- Decomposition and cycling of organic matter
- Gas exchange and carbon sequestration
- Maintenance of soil structure
- Plant growth control
- Production of food, fuel & energy
- Regulation of nutrients and uptake
- Seed dispersal
- Soil detoxification
- Soil formation & prevention of soil erosion
- Suppression of pests and diseases
To provide a framework of how ecosystems provide for human lives the term 'Ecosystem Approach' and 'Ecosystem Services' are being used. The 'Ecosystem Approach' is to assist decision makers to take full account of ecological systems and their associated biodiversity. 'Ecosystem Services' describe which the process and functions, provided by the natural world, that are used by humankind for it’s well being.