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Unformatted text preview: WHAT ARE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES? Ecosystem Services are the processes by which the environment produces resources that we often take for granted such as clean water, timber, and habitat for fisheries, and pollination of native and agricultural plants. Whether we find ourselves in the city or a rural area, the ecosystems in which humans live provide goods and services that are very familiar to us. WHAT IS AN ECOSYSTEM? An ecosystem is a community of animals and plants interacting with one another and with their physical environment. Ecosystems include physical and chemical components, such as soils, water, and nutrients that support the organisms living within them. These organisms may range from large animals and plants to microscopic bacteria. Ecosystems inlcude the interactions among all organisms in a given habitat. People are part of ecosystems. The health and well- being of human populations depends upon the services provided by ecosystems and their components - organisms, soil, water, and nutrients. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES Have you ever considered that the cereal you eat is brought to you each morning by the wind, or that the glass of clear, cold, clean water drawn from you faucet may have been purified for you by a wetland or perhaps the root system of an entire forest? Trees in your front yard work to trap dust, dirt, and harmful gases from the air you breathe. The bright fire of oak logs you light to keep warm on cold nights and the medicine you take to ease the pain of an ailment come to you from Natures warehouse of services. Natural ecosystems perform fundamental life-support services upon which human civilization depends. Unless human activities are carefully planned and managed, valuable ecosystems will continue to be impaired or destroyed....
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This note was uploaded on 06/04/2011 for the course PCB 4043 taught by Professor Osenberg during the Fall '10 term at University of Florida.
- Fall '10