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This site is about humans surviving on Earth, only due to the services provided by organisms we share the planet with.

It is a series of posts which focus on a particular organism or group of organisms which provide a service to us humans, allowing us to breathe, drink, eat, maintain our body temperature, not get heat stroke, not get swept away in a flood, not get burnt to a crisp by a bushfire etc.

I am sure you have all read articles about how some weird frog, for example, in some place you have never visited is going extinct, and thought "I have my own problems and I don't have time for this."  Hopefully after reading the case studies in this site, you will have a better idea of what that frog, or fish, or insect, or fern or whatever does for you, and how much less we will be if we lose it. References will be provided but this site will try to avoid jargon and technobabble as much as possible. A glossary will be provided when technical terms just cannot be avoided. If a word has a dotted underline, hover the cursor over the word and a definition will pop up.

Ecosystem services and what they mean for us

Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from ecosystems
- according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

why we need ecosystems

why we need ecosystems

Ecosystem service examples and their classification

Ecologists recognise 4 different types of service provided.1

Provisional – these are tangible goods that people can harvest from the environment such as food, wood , fibre, water and fuel.

Regulating – these are regulating services that occur in the ecosystem that lead to benefits such as climate regulation, flood management, and water filtration.

Cultural – these include ways in which nature impacts on people’s health, both physical and mental, through recreational and education benefits

Supporting – ecosystems could not function without supporting services, such as nutrient cycling, soil formation and habitat provision for biodiversity, forming the basis for the other three types of services.


Dig deeper

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2009). Ecosystem Services: Key Concepts and Applications, Occasional Paper No 1, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra.

Ecosystem services explainer video

Congrats on reaching the bottom of the page. Now onto the cases! Read as many as you feel like, in any order you feel like, but I do recommend reading the Start here info first as it informs the rest of the cases.

  1. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: KEY CONCEPTS AND APPLICATIONS []
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