Wri_esr table 2010-lettersize.indd

Defi nitions of Ecosystem Services, Version 2
Defi nition
Provisioning services: The goods or products obtained from ecosystems
Cultivated plants or agricultural produce harvested by people for Animals raised for domestic or commercial consumption or use Wild fi sh captured through trawling and other non-farming Fish, shellfi sh, and/or plants that are bred and reared in ponds, enclosures, and other forms of freshwater or saltwater Edible plant and animal species gathered or captured in the wild Biological
Products made from trees harvested from natural forest ecosystems, plantations, or non-forested lands materials
• Cotton, silk, hemp• Twine, rope• Natural rubber Processed skins of cattle, deer, pig, snakes, sting rays, or other • White sand from coral and white shells• Colored sand from shells Products derived from ecosystems that serve aesthetic purposes Biomass fuel
Biological material derived from living or recently living organisms—both plant and animal—that serves as a source of Freshwater
Inland bodies of water, groundwater, rainwater, and surface • Freshwater for drinking, cleaning, cooling, industrial waters for household, industrial, and agricultural uses processes, electricity generation, or mode of transportation Genetic resources
Genes and genetic information used for animal breeding, plant • Genes used to increase crop resistance to disease or Biochemicals, natural
Medicines, biocides, food additives, and other biological medicines, and pharmaceuticals
materials derived from ecosystem for commercial or domestic use • Paclitaxel as basis for cancer drugs• Tree extracts used for pest control Regulating services: The benefi ts obtained from an ecosystem’s control of natural processes
Maintenance of air quality
Infl uence ecosystems have on air quality by emitting chemicals • Lakes serve as a sink for industrial emissions of sulfur to the atmosphere (i.e., serving as a “source”) or extracting chemicals from the atmosphere (i.e., serving as a “sink”) • Tree and shrub leaves trap air pollutants near roadways Regulation
Infl uence ecosystems have on the global climate by emitting • Forests capture and store carbon dioxide of climate
greenhouse gases or aerosols to the atmosphere or by absorbing • Cattle and rice paddies emit methanegreenhouse gases or aerosols from the atmosphere Infl uence ecosystems have on local or regional temperature, • Forests can impact regional rainfall levels precipitation, and other climatic factors Regulation of water timing
Infl uence ecosystems have on the timing and magnitude of • Permeable soil facilitates aquifer recharge and fl ows
water runoff, fl ooding, and aquifer recharge, particularly • River fl oodplains and wetlands retain water—which can in terms of the water storage potential of the ecosystem or decrease fl ooding—reducing the need for engineered Defi nitions of Ecosystem Services, Version 2 (continued)
Defi nition
Defi nition
Regulating services (continued)
Erosion control
Role ecosystems play in retaining and replenishing soil and sand • Vegetation such as grass and trees prevents soil loss due to wind and rain and prevents siltation of water ways • Coral reefs, oyster reefs, and sea grass beds reduce loss of land and Role ecosystems play in the fi ltration and decomposition • Wetlands remove harmful pollutants from water by trapping metals and purifi cation
of organic wastes and pollutants in water; assimilation and and waste
detoxifi cation of compounds through soil and subsoil processes • Soil microbes degrade organic waste, rendering it less harmful treatment
Infl uence that ecosystems have on the incidence and abundance • Some intact forests reduce the occurrence of standing water—a mitigation
breeding area for mosquitoes—which lowers the prevalence of malaria Maintenance of
Role ecosystems play in sustaining soil’s biological activity, • Some organisms aid in decomposition of organic matter, increasing soil soil quality
diversity and productivity; regulating and partitioning water and solute fl ow; storing and recycling nutrients and gases; among • Some organisms aerate soil, improve soil chemistry, and increase Pest mitigation
Infl uence ecosystems have on the prevalence of crop and • Predators from nearby forests—such as bats, toads, and snakes— Pollination
Role ecosystems play in transferring pollen from male to female • Bees from nearby forests pollinate crops Natural hazard
Capacity for ecosystems to reduce the damage caused by • Mangrove forests and coral reefs protect coastlines from storm surges mitigation
natural disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis and to • Biological decomposition processes reduce potential fuel for wildfi res maintain natural fi re frequency and intensity Cultural services: The nonmaterial benefi ts obtained from ecosystems
Recreation and
Recreational pleasure people derive from natural or cultivated ecotourism
Ethical and
Spiritual, religious, aesthetic, intrinsic, “existence,” or similar • Spiritual fulfi llment derived from sacred lands and rivers spiritual values
values people attach to ecosystems, landscapes, or species • People’s desire to protect endangered species and rare habitats Educational and
Information derived from ecosystems used for intellectual • The structure of tree leaves has inspired technological improvements in inspirational
development, culture, art, design, and innovation • School fi eldtrips to nature preserves aid in teaching scientifi c concepts Supporting services: The natural processes that maintain the other ecosystem services
Natural or semi-natural spaces that maintain species populations • Native plant communities often provide pollinators with food and and protect the capacity of ecological communities to recover • Rivers and estuaries provide nurseries for fi sh reproduction and juvenile • Large natural areas and biological corridors allow animals to survive forest fi res and other disturbances Nutrient cycling
Flow of nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, carbon) • Transfer of nitrogen from plants to soil, from soil to oceans, from oceans to the atmosphere, and from the atmosphere to plants Formation of biological material by plants through • Algae transform sunlight and nutrients into biomass, thereby forming production
the base of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems Water cycling
Flow of water through ecosystems in its solid, liquid, or gaseous • Transfer of water from soil to plants, plants to air, and air to rain Source: Adapted by the World Resources Institute from the reports of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005; The Cost of Policy Inaction, 2008: The Corporate
Ecosystem Services Review, 2008; The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, 2010.
For more information go to www.wri.org/ecosystems/esr.

Source: http://ecocommons.oregonexplorer.info/sites/default/files/esr_definitions_of_ecosystem_services.pdf


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