Ecosystem services

Regulating services

Benefits that are obtained from the regulation of ecosystems.
  •  Air quality maintenance – ecosystems both contribute chemicals to and extract chemicals from the atmosphere, influencing many aspects of air quality.
  • Climate regulation – ecosystems influence climate both locally and globally. At a local scale, changes in land cover can affect both temperature and precipitation. At the global scale, ecosystems play an important role in climate by either sequestering or emitting greenhouse gases.
  • Water regulation – the timing and magnitude of runoff, flooding, and aquifer recharge can be strongly influenced by changes in land cover.
  • Erosion control – vegetation cover plays an important role in soil retention and the prevention of landslides.
  • Water purification and waste treatment – ecosystems can be a source of impurities in fresh water but also can help to filter out and decompose organic wastes introduced into inland waters and coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • Regulation of human diseases – changes in ecosystems can directly change the abundance of human pathogens, such as cholera, and can alter the abundance of disease vectors, such as mosquitoes.
  • Biological control – ecosystem changes affect the prevalence of crop and livestock pests and diseases.
  • Pollination – ecosystem changes affect the distribution, abundance, and effectiveness of pollinators.
  • Storm protection – the presence of coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests and wetlands can dramatically reduce the damage caused by hurricanes or storm surges.