Ecosystem services

Supporting services

Services that are for the health of ecosystems, but do not yield direct benefits to humans.
  • Primary production – The production of organic matter from CO2. A well known process for this is photosynthesis, which uses light as source of energy. An other type is chemosynthesis, which uses the oxidation of chemical compounds as energy source.
  • Production of atmospheric oxygen – Oxygen is produces in the process of photosynthesis. Plants produce oxygen, but also algae and cyanobacteria contribute to the worldwide oxygen production.
  • Soil formation and retention – Soil formation is essential for the health of terrestrial ecosystems. Soil is formed by micro-organisms and physical processes that decompose organic matter to small particles.
  • Nutrient cycling – Nutrients such as nitrogen or phosphate go trough a natural recycling process. Inorganic matter or minerals are taken up by living organisms. The process of decomposition will recycle the material to the physical environment.
  • Water cycling – Water circulates between the earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and land. The water cycle involves precipitation such as rain and snow, drainage in streams and rivers, and return to the atmosphere by evaporation and transpiration.
  • Provisioning of habitat – Habitats provide animal and plant species with the resources they need, such as food, water and shelter. Each ecosystem consists of a diversity of habitats, that in turn support different species.