Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping Project

ecosystem services

The benefits that humankind receives from the resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. Examples include clean drinking water, decomposition and dilution of wastes, harvestable fishes, etc.  Sometimes divided into goods (timber, fish) and services (clean drinking water, pollination), the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment groups ecosystem services into four broad categories: provisioning, such as the production of food and water; regulating, such as the control of climate and disease; supporting, such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination; and cultural, such as spiritual and recreational benefits.

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