What Are Ecosystem Services?
Ecosystem services are the benefits that people derive from the natural environment. Green infrastructure – such as riparian corridors, urban forests, and storm water catchment systems – supports biodiversity, regulates air temperatures and quality, and protects drinking water. Urban parks and open space provide recreational opportunities for residents, linked directly to economic, health, well-being, and cultural benefits.
One of urban green space's greatest attributes its ability to articulate the environment's ecological, social, and economic benefits to a concentrated number of people (Daniel et al. 2012). As public space, urban parks and green infrastructure are visible and interacted with daily in the urban landscape. Urban ecosystem services clearly support human well-being, yet because the benefits they provide tend to be outside conventional markets, people rarely recognize their value.
Most ecosystem services are rarely considered to have economic benefits and tend to be outside the conventional marketplace. The challenge then is to acknowledge the multiple contributions of ecosystem services to human well-being while managing them as public goods
Image from the academic journal Ecology and Society