Ecosystem services

Humans have always needed nature to live, whereas nature does not need humans to exist. Humans interact strongly with their environment. They depend on it for access to food, water and habitat. All our societies have developed around what nature provides. But resources are not unlimited and the environment is deteriorating, threatening our common heritage. It is urgent to become aware of the role and benefits that humans obtain from ecosystems, in order to ensure their protection and subsequent management.


What are ecosystem services ?

The concept of ecosystem services emerged in the 1980s, with the aim of bringing conservation issues back to the forefront of human concerns. They are defined as all the goods and services provided by the ecosystem, which are necessary for human development and well-being. In this way, the concept gives value to ecosystems.


The different services provided by ecosystems


These services fall into 4 categories : provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services and supporting services. 

  • Firstly, provisioning services include all goods obtained directly from ecosystems and nature, such as food, water, fossil fuels, pharmaceutical products, etc.
  • Then there are regulating services, which are the benefits obtained by controlling natural phenomena. These are very useful in reducing certain natural risks. Examples include climate change mitigation through carbon storage, pollination, and flood control through wetlands.
  • Cultural services are more abstract, but just as useful. These are the intangible benefits that people can derive from ecosystems. They include tourism, most leisure activities, religion and education.
  • Finally, there are the supporting services, which enable the production of other ecosystem services. They create the fundamental conditions for life on Earth and enable ecosystems to function properly. These services include soil formation and fertility, the water cycle and photosynthesis.

Nevertheless, this categorization of ecosystem services can sometimes be complex, as some of them may belong to several groups simultaneously. A good example is freshwater, which can fall into all four categories. Indeed, it is essential to the drinking water supply service, it plays a major role in regulation through the filtration of water by forests and wetlands, it is part of the water cycle and therefore includes supporting services, and finally, it offers cultural benefits when used for entertainment purposes.


Why is this so important ?

The planet is constantly evolving, and ecosystems are subject to many pressures and changes. Numerous human interventions, such as pollution, deforestation, invasive alien species and climate change, are severely degrading ecosystems. Yet the quantity and quality of the services they provide depend on their proper functioning. As these services are “free”, they are generally not considered at their fair value and are often poorly protected. Yet they are the foundation of our societies and our well-being. If these services are not valued, our quality of life could deteriorate.

There is therefore an urgent need to realize the importance of what the environment brings us. A good understanding of these services and their consequences is essential for effectively managing and conserving ecosystems and the benefits we derive from them, as well as for influencing environmental decisions and policies.




biodiversité photovoltaiques

What can we do ?


To ensure the preservation of ecosystem services, action is needed at various levels, from international policies to individual initiatives. There are several possible actions.

The first is awareness-raising. Being informed is the first step to understanding, becoming aware and thus being able to commit to preserving ecosystems. It’s also a way of raising awareness of environmental issues among a wide range of actors, and establishing communications with decision-makers.

To contribute to the sustainability of ecosystem services, it is essential to adopt responsible consumption and encourage sustainable, environmentally-friendly agriculture. Simple actions can be as simple as favoring short circuits, reducing waste production, avoiding waste, encouraging car pooling, supporting decisions taken in favor of the environment, growing food in your garden or composting…

Action is also needed at other levels. Companies can adopt more sustainable practices, for example by reducing their carbon footprint, but not only that! They can also invest in or collaborate with nature conservation initiatives. Companies can thus contribute to the protection of ecosystems and have a positive impact on the community.

BeeOdiversity works to preserve biodiversity and improve the quality of the environment. Together with our partners, we design short- or long-term biodiversity strategies, and use BeeOmonitoring to assess your environment using quantified indicators to advise you on how best to regenerate and improve your territory.

By analyzing areas at risk and setting up programs involving local actors, BeeOdiversity helps its partners, for example, to have a positive impact in favor of biodiversity, while at the same time increasing the attractiveness of the area for citizens or employees, etc., and reducing environmental management costs. We can also identify sources of pollution in specific areas and subsequently implement projects to regenerate biodiversity or limit pollutant emissions.

In conclusion, there are an infinite number of possible actions, at any level, to help protect ecosystem services. It is collective involvement that will enable us to act effectively to preserve these services. This must become a global objective, on the one hand because these services offer great economic, political, social and cultural benefits, and on the other because they ensure the survival and sustainability of our planet as a whole.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like further information on initiatives to regenerate biodiversity !



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to halt the loss of biodiversity and create value? Do you have an idea or do you want to find out more about our approach and our services ?

Complete the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible

    BeeOdiversity develops projects in several European countries, Switzerland and the United States. Its tools and services can be used the world over.


    To contact us from Belgium and abroad : +32 2 428 00 82

    Head office :

    Avenue Arnaud Fraiteur 15-23

    1050 Brussels, Belgium


    Like the idea of working with us ?