Ecosystem Services

Status and Trends
some deteriorations noted – status and trends vary with the specific ecosystem service in questions

some good, relevant data, but little that measures trends of ecosystem services; understanding of topic beginning to grow

Low confidence in finding

KEY FINDING 15. Canada is well endowed with a natural environment that provides ecosystem services upon which our quality of life depends. In some areas where stressors have impaired ecosystem function, the cost of maintaining ecosystem services is high and deterioration in quantity, quality, and access to ecosystem services is evident.

This key finding is divided into three sections:

Ecosystems provide the direct goods and indirect services that ensure human well-being. These are collectively referred to as ecosystem services. Ecosystem services include: regulating services, such as the mitigation of flood and drought, the filtration of air and water, and the control of pest populations; provisioning services, such as food, fibre, and water; cultural services, such as education, recreation, psychological health, and spiritual experience; and the supporting services necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services, such as soil formation and nutrient cycling.1

Ecosystem services are important because they provide critical life support, they underpin our economy and quality of life, and the full suite of services cannot be duplicated with human-made alternatives.

Some observed trends that affect ecosystem services

Examples of changes in biomes, habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes presented in other key findings that affect ecosystem services, as viewed through the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework.1

Graphic: examples of changes presented in this report that affect ecosystem services. Click for graphic description (new window). Photos: Wetland © Shelly Pardy Moores, Bucket ©, Forest view © Jonathan Martin, Ice ©

Global Trends

Approximately 60% of ecosystem services globally are being degraded or used unsustainably, including 70% of provisioning services.2
Key finding overview