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What are ecological services and how are they valued?

What are ecological services and how are they valued?

Ecological services are the benefits provided by natural processes and systems that contribute to human well-being and economic development. These services can take many forms, such as natural water purification, maintaining soil fertility, pollination and preventing wind erosion.

Valuing ecological services is important for sustainable development and the proper management of natural resources. It takes into account the economic, social and production/">environmental impacts of services.

Types of ecological services

Ecological services are generally divided into four categories:

  1. Support services: these services are the basis for ecosystem functioning, such as maintaining soil fertility and the process of photosynthesis.
  2. Regulating services: These services play a role in regulating environmental processes, such as water regulation and wind erosion prevention.
  3. Providing services: These services directly meet human needs, such as food production, water and energy supply.
  4. Cultural services: These services are part of human culture and well-being, such as the beauty of the natural landscape and recreational opportunities.

Valuation of ecological services

A range of methods and tools are used to value ecological services. The valuation takes into account the ecological, economic and social characteristics of the services.

Ecological valuation looks at the quantity and quality of services and the health and stability of the ecosystem. Economic valuation determines the material value of services, such as the cost of food production or water treatment. Social valuation considers the social utility of services and their impact on human well-being.

Valuation of ecological services helps decision-makers and natural resource managers to ensure sustainable development and proper protection of natural resources. The results of valuation can be used to take more effective measures to conserve and maintain services.

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