Defining Ecosystem Services

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1 Defining Ecosystem Services Beto Borges Director, Community and Markets Program Forest Trends 6 April 2011 Defining Ecosystem Services What are ecosystems? Ecosystems in Uganda What are ecosystem services? Types and categories of ecosystem services Value and status of ecosystem services 1

2 What Are Ecosystems? Ecosystems are the combined interactions of: Biological / living (plant, animal and micro-organism communities) components of environment and Physical / non-living components (air, water, soil and the basic elements and compounds of the environment) Ecosystems in Uganda Uganda Landcover Figure prepared with data from: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Africover. 2

3 What are Ecosystem Services? Natural and modified ecosystems have positive effects on the air, water and natural resources which generate benefits for human beings. Terrestrial Ecosystem Services Nutrient Cycling Air quality Wild species habitat protection Carbon sequestration & storage Pest & disease control Soil formation & fertility Plant pollination Watershed protection & regulation 3

4 Marine and Coastal Ecosystem Services Coastal Water quality Stable Coastlines Storm and Hurricane Protection Sustainable Fisheries Sandy Beaches Safe and Healthy Seafood Carbon sequestration and storage Marine Biodiversity Seascape and Landscape Beauty Waste and Pollutant Processing Why Should We Care? Some of the services nature provides through wetlands, forests, grasslands, and oceans include: water filtration nutrient cycling pest control flood control climate regulation pollination disease regulation The human strain on terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems is causing some of nature's life support services to falter. 4

5 Where do Ecosystem Services Exist? Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Categorizing Ecosystem Services Ecosystems Services are the benefits that ecosystems provide, which include: Supporting services: Functions that maintain all other services Regulating services: Natural processes regulated by ecosystems Provisioning services: Goods or products produced by ecosystems Cultural services: Non-material benefits obtained from ecosystems 5

6 Categorizing Ecosystem Services Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Value of Ecosystem Services Estimated value of ecosystem services is more than $33 trillion per year! (Compare this to global gross national product at only $18 trillion.) Source: Costanza R et al (1997) The value of the world s ecosystem services and natural capita. Nature. 387 (15 May 1997) pp

7 Status of Ecosystem Services Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that 60% to 70% of ecosystem services are being degraded faster than they can recover. Drivers of Today s Challenges 1. Lack of conceptual frameworks/ data 2. Lack of clarity on property rights 3. Lack of investment incentives 7

8 Drivers of Today s Challenges 4. Perceptions of public sector responsibility for maintenance 5. Promotion of activities that undercut environmental services 6. Invisibility of effects, as impacts are dispersed across time and geographies The Situation life supporting resources declining consumption of life supporting resources rising Source: The Natural Step International (www.naturalstep.org) 8

9 Status of Ecosystem Services in Uganda Four ecosystem services are critically stressed in Uganda: Maintenance of biodiversity Food and fiber provision Water supply, purification and regulation Fuel provision UNEP and IISD Connecting poverty & ecosystem services: A series of seven country scoping studies: Focus on Uganda. 9

10 Conclusions We now understand What are ecosystems and ecosystem services? What ecosystems exist in Uganda? Types and categories of ecosystem services? The value of services delivered by ecosystems The status of ecosystems globally and in Uganda Thank you! Questions? 10

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