Human health is inextricably linked to ecosystem health. An ecosystem is comprised of living organisms interacting in a physical environment. Every organism native to its physical environment evolved in symphony together over time, and contributes to the productivity of a system. The health of an ecosystem can be determined by assessing its parts and its productivity.
The productivity of a system can be measured by these services that are essential to our economy and livelihoods – and are provided to us for free by a healthy ecosystem:
- Provision services: Products obtained from an ecosystem such as lumber, seafood, biomedical, and minerals
- Regulating services: Benefits people obtain such as flood, erosion, climate and pest control
- Cultural services: Non-material benefits to people such as educational, recreational, spiritual and heritage
- Supporting services: Foundation of the other three services such as primary productivity (plants grow using energy from the sun), nutrient cycling, maintenance, and biological diversity
The better we protect the native organisms in an ecosystem, the more productive it will be and the healthier the planet will be!
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