Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect benefits that ecosystems provide humans. Agroecosystems, rangelands, and forests provide suites of ecosystem services that support and sustain human livelihoods. These services are typically broken down into four categories:
  • Provisioning services: the material or energy outputs from an ecosystem, including food, forage, fiber, fresh water, and other resources
  • Regulating services: benefits obtained through moderation or control of ecosystem processes, including regulation of local climate, air, or soil quality; carbon sequestration; flood, erosion, or disease control; and pollination
  • Supporting services: services that maintain fundamental ecosystem processes, such as habitat for plants and wildlife, or the maintenance of genetic and biological diversity
  • Cultural services: the non-material benefits that ecosystems provide to human societies and culture, including opportunities for recreation, tourism, aesthetic or artistic appreciation, and spirituality

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Huckleberries are culturally and ecologically important plant species in the Northwest that are affected by climate change and land management practices. In the Northwest, the majority of huckleberry habitat is located on lands managed by the US Forest Service. Fire management…

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No-till is not a new concept — it has been a management practice for several decades. Yet it has gained fresh momentum as a key soil health practice recommended by the USDA NRCS. Adopting a new management practice is no small decision though. It is essential to learn as much as…

Our national forests, shrublands and grasslands are composed of diverse assemblages of native forb species that support numerous pollinators. Disturbances, invasives and climate change threaten the diversity and abundance of native forbs, and therefore pollinators. Research and…

Many Rhode Island farmers plant winter cover crops, such as winter rye (Secale cereale). The plants help to reduce soil erosion, improve soil quality, and provide other benefits. Summer cover crops traditionally have not been used in Rhode Island because of the short summer…

One third of all of our food comes from pollinated crops.  Because increasing temperatures impact both plants and the pollinators they rely on, climate change poses a dual threat to crop production. Shifts in dates when plants flower or pollinators are present could…