The Value of an Ecosystem

Biodiversity Under Threat, the value of an ecosystem

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Provisoning services- Products derived directly from an ecosystem they should be sustainibly used and not over exploited.

Regulating Services - services which are vital to the functioning of the Earths systems, e.g. forest are the Earths 'green lungs' and carbon sinks. 

Cultural Services - services wich provide enjoyment e.g. aesthetic and spiritual, for people.

Supporting Services - processes such as the nutrients cyclem soil formation and primary production which are vital to the wellbeing of the ecosystem itself. 

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Ecosystem services


  • Nutrience cycling
  • soil formation
  • Primary Production


  • Food
  • Fresh water
  • Wood and Fibre
  • Fuel


  • Climate regulation
  • Flood regulation (mangroves)
  • Disease regulation 
  • Water purification


  • Aesthetic
  • Spiritual
  • Educational
  • Recreational 
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Constituents of wellbeing

Freedom of choice action


  • Personal safety
  • Secure resource acsess
  • Security from disasters

Material for life

  • Adequate livelihoods
  • Sufficient nutritous food
  • Shelter
  • Acsess to goods


  • Strenght
  • Feeling Well
  • Acsess to clean air and water

Social relations

  • Social cohesion
  • Mutual Respect
  • Ability to help others
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Coral Reefs


  • Home to 25% of all known marine fish (rivaling rainforests in biodiversity)
  • 4000 marine fish and 800 species of reef building coral have been catalogued, although scientist think there are many more. 

Shoreline protection

  • Coral reefs provide a 'buffer' for waves protecting cosat lines from errosion.

Food (synoptic link to life on the margins)

  • Globally 20% of animal protein consumed by people comes from marine environments.
  • Coral reefs provide 25% of the total fish catch.
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Coral Reefs cont.


  • Algae and sponges yeild bioactive compounds are used in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Corals are used for bone grafts.

Building Materials

  • Coral reefs are mined for limestone in countries which lack alternative basic construction materials. 

Tourism Magnets

  • More than 100 of the 109 contries with reefs in their territorial waters have established tourist idustries. Some Caribbean countries derive half of their GNP from tourism (link to 'Bridging the development gap') 
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