IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

4.1.1 Ecosystem goods and services

Ecosystems provide many goods and services that are of vital importance for the functioning of the biosphere, and provide the basis for the delivery of tangible benefits to human society. Hassan et al. (2005) define these to include supporting, provisioning, regulating and cultural services. In this chapter we divide services into four categories.

i. Supporting services, such as primary and secondary production, and biodiversity, a resource that is increasingly recognised to sustain many of the goods and services that humans enjoy from ecosystems. These provide a basis for three higher-level categories of services.

ii. Provisioning services, such as products (cf. Gitay et al., 2001), i.e., food (including game, roots, seeds, nuts and other fruit, spices, fodder), fibre (including wood, textiles) and medicinal and cosmetic products (including aromatic plants, pigments; see Chapter 5).

iii. Regulating services, which are of paramount importance for human society such as (a) carbon sequestration, (b) climate and water regulation, (c) protection from natural hazards such as floods, avalanches or rock-fall, (d) water and air purification, and (e) disease and pest regulation.

iv. Cultural services, which satisfy human spiritual and aesthetic appreciation of ecosystems and their components.