Ecosystem Services – What Are They And Why It Is Important To Maintain Them?

An ecosystem is a set of species, both animals and plants, that live in a certain area and that interact with each other and with their abiotic system, as well. Ecosystem services are, on the other hand, what the ecosystems are offering.

What are the ecosystem services?

We can find different definitions, from one author to another.

For example, the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture defines ecosystem services as “the multitude of benefits that nature brings to society” and that biodiversity is the diversity among organisms, which is essential for the function of ecosystems so that they provide their services.

Others define them as “the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human well-being”.

Ecosystem services provide everything we need

In general, ecosystem services represent a concept that has been in constant evolution and dynamism and some authors feel that talking about ecosystem services is to commodify nature, which would act with a predominantly extractive logic, which of course sometimes does not necessarily go for conservation and sustainability.

However, ecosystem services that nature provides to humans are those that are used for agricultural production, livestock, forestry, or fishing, among others.

Ecosystem services ensure what we need to survive but what is the catch?

It is evident that industries produce some effects on the environment, so the ‘catch’ is to improve and strengthen the elements and rules that allow human activities to be sustainable over time. Thus, we should know our environment and limit our intrusion and our activities that would make ecosystem suffer.

Adopting an anthropocentric view of life, where humans are the most significant living creatures on Earth, can, on many occasions, jeopardize the long-term survival of humanity and can’t help us reach an environmental balance.

On the other hand, we should set achievable goals regarding the protection of ecosystem services in order to maintain a good “relationship” with the environment. Otherwise, without sustainability, our future generations will face starvation, extreme climate change, and the humankind will, eventually, perish.

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