Table 2. Plain English definitions of ecosystem service categories.


Provisioning

Providing for people’s needs.
These are the things humans gain from the environment for food, shelter, physical existence, and quality of life.

Cultural

Providing for people’s wants.
What we want from ecosystems, including their contribution to our cultural and spiritual values, and our understanding of the world; our ties to a locality, and our heritage, recreation, and eco-tourism uses.

Regulating

Regulating the environment around you.
These are ways the ecosystems and the environment self-regulate and process themselves in your region.

Supporting

Supporting the long-term health of the planet.
What we feel is important in maintaining the long-term health of the planet. The impacts of these are usually indirect.