Ecosystem Services and Ecological Reserves

Posted January 4, 2014 | Categories : Reports |

Ecological Reserves in British Columbia play an important role in the provision of Ecosystem Services. The references below relate to this topic:



Salmonberry photo by Garry Fletcher

Ecosystem services ‘Ecosystem goods’, such as food, and ‘services’, such as waste assimilation, represent the benefits humans obtain from a properly functioning ecosystem and are usually referred together as ‘ecosystem services’. Unsurprisingly a large number of ecosystem services have been identified, especially for the oceans which cover the majority of the planet and the coastal zone where the majority of humans live.

gas regulation (e.g. maintaining a balanced chemical composition in the atmosphere),
climate regulation (e.g. control of global temperature, precipitation, greenhouse gas regulation, cloud formation)
disturbance regulation (e.g. storm protection, flood control, drought recovery),
water regulation (e.g. regulation of global, regional and local scale hydrology through currents and tides),
water supply (e.g. storage of water returned to land as precipitation),
erosion and sediment transport/deposition (e.g. moving sediments from source areas and replenishing depositional areas),
nutrient cycling e.g. the storage, internal cycling, processing and acquisition of nutrients, nitrogen fixation, phosphorus cycles),
waste treatment (e.g. the breakdown of excess xenic and toxic compounds),
biological control (e.g. the trophic-dynamic regulation of populations),
refugia (e.g. feeding and nursery habitats for resident and transient populations of harvested species),
food production (e.g. the portion of gross primary production which is extracted as food for humans),
raw materials (e.g. the portion of gross primary production which is extracted as fuel or building material),
genetic resources(e.g. sources of unique biological materials for medicines),
recreation (e.g. opportunities for tourism, sport and other outdoor pastimes) and cultural (e.g. opportunities for aesthetic, artistic, educational, spiritual activities).The value (the theoretical cost of artificially replacing the services were they not to be provided by nature) to humanity of these ecosystem services has been estimated at $8400 billion per year for the open oceans and 1.5 times this for coastal ecosystems.

Consumptive use (production of food and raw materials) is a minor (<5%) component and therefore the true value of marine ecosystems is in non- consumptive use. However quantifying such use is notoriously hard.Adapted from the reference:
The structure and function of ecological systems in relation to property right regimes. In: Hanna, S., Folke, C., Maler, K.G. (Eds.), Rights to Nature. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 13 34. Authority. Research Publication No. 35, Townsville, Australia, pp. 83.   ( DOCUMENT ) Author(s) / Editor(s) Costanza, R., Folke, C., 1997.

Patterns of a Conservation Economy: True Cost Pricing

2. Ecosystem Services:

3. Securing Canada’s Natural Capital:

4. Results  of National Survey on Ecological goods and Services

References specializing in Marine Ecosystem Services:Aquatic ecosystems provide many services contributing to human well-being . Maintenance of the integrity and the restoration of these ecosystems are vital for services such as water replenishment and purification, flood and drought control.

5. Marine Ecosystems report:
A report on ecosystem services in the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (Pncima) on the British Columbia coast.

6. ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems

7. Marine Ecosystems And Fisheries- Aquarium of the Pacific

8. Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services

  • “It is most important to raise consciousness of the general public and of public officials and managers of the value of ecosystem services. Here are some ways that individual friends might choose.
    1)    Educate ourselves about ecosystem services.
    2)    Monitor local news for issues that impact ecosystem services to point out areas of public concern when ecosystem services are destroyed or disregarded.
    3)    Speak truth to power — communicate with local officials and congressional representatives about the implications of their decisions on ecosystem services.
    4)    Hold agencies to the environmental and public input requirements of the laws.
    5)    Make certain that preservation of ecosystem services is among the options presented.
    6)    Write letters to the editor to educate the public about ecosystem services”

9. Millennium Ecosystem assessment panel: Ecosystems and Human Well: being wetlands and water.