The land is the most crucial component of the built environment. It should be carefully planned, designed, developed and maintained to protect and enhance the benefits we derive from healthy functioning ecosystems.
Ecosystem services can be realized at any level. The home landscape, raised bed veggie garden, the farm, or an entire city. They represent the goods and services of direct or indirect benefit to humans that are produced by ecosystem processes involving the interaction of living elements, such as vegetation and soil organisms, and non-living elements, such as bedrock, water, and air.
Global climate regulation
Maintaining balance of atmospheric gases at historic levels, creating breathable air, and sequestering greenhouse gases
Ex: Amending soils with biochar. Residential, commercial, farm.
Local climate regulation
Regulating local temperature, precipitation, and humidity through shading, evapotranspiration, and windbreaks
A holistic approach to the landscape, farm, garden.
Air and water cleansing
Removing and reducing pollutants in air and water
Design and maintain the landscape/farm/garden with pollution control in mind. Remove or mitigate contaminants.
Water supply and regulation
Storing and providing water within the landscape/farm/garden and on the larger scale - watersheds and aquifers
Erosion and sediment control
Retaining soil within an ecosystem, preventing damage from erosion and siltation
Reducing vulnerability to damage from flooding, storm surge, fire, and drought
Providing for pollinator species aiding in reproduction of crops or other plants
Providing refuge and reproduction habitat to plants and animals, thereby contributing to conservation of biological and genetic diversity and evolutionary processes
Waste decomposition and treatment
Breaking down waste and cycling nutrients
Human health and well-being benefits
Enhancing physical, mental, and social wellbeing as a result of interaction with nature
Food and renewable non-food products
Producing food, fuel, energy, medicine, or other products for human use
Enhancing cultural, educational, aesthetic, and spiritual experiences as a result of interaction with nature
Content provided by: Sustainable Sites Initiative