Supporting Services for Wetlands: An Overview
Supporting services comprise ecosystem services necessary for maintenance of ecosystem integrity, functioning, and resilience and for the production of all other ecosystem services. They differ from provisioning, regulating, and cultural services in that their impacts on people are often indirect or occur over a very long time. Although not directly exploited by people, supporting services nevertheless have vital direct and indirect impacts on human wellbeing. However, because this category of services is currently largely excluded from markets, supporting services and the ecosystems that provide them are vulnerable to degradation in favor of other, more narrowly framed, services such as production of food and fiber.
Degradation of ecosystem resilience and functioning inevitably degrades not only the wetland resource but also the many services that wetlands provide and the interests of their many beneficiaries. It is then essential that supporting services are fully recognized and included into the positive management of wetlands and other habitats, consistent with the Ramsar Convention’s “wise use” concept recognizing the needs to balance the supporting benefits provided by wetland systems with the production of provisioning, regulatory, and supporting services.
KeywordsSupport services Legislation Common law Subsidies Benefits Conservation Natural capital
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