When drinking mountain water, or while eating wild blueberries, you probably do not think about how these things came about. Actually, a natural ecosystem is usually responsible for the water you drink or food you eat. Ecosystems provide “ecosystem services” that are the main cause of agricultural growth and many other processes that benefit humans.
Why are Ecosystem Services Important
Each ecosystem provides unique services to the environments in their area. Without a properly functioning ecosystem, some environmental processes necessary for the continuation of plant and animal life in each ecosystem would be impossible. Without the services that an ecosystem provides, it would be nearly impossible for a life cycle to function.
These services are what the ecosystem does in order to give humans resources, such as clean water and air, habitats for fish, and other such services.
An ecosystem can aide in the process for moderation of weather, pollinate vegetation and crops, fertilize soil, protect coasts from erosion, help stabilize climates, detoxify waste, move nutrients, scatter seeds from one place to another, and many more.
As you can see, the services that each ecosystem provides for the world are vital to the survival of plants and animals everywhere, and consequently, humans as well.
What Causes Ecosystem Services to Break Down
If ecosystems, such as ocean ecosystems, marine ecosystems, or a desert ecosystem were disrupted, then life would change drastically for the humans and animals in the world. Humans contribute a lot to the destruction of such ecosystems around the world. Urban sprawl is one of the main contributors, because buildings stamp out the natural growth of plants and insects.
Some other main contributors are:
- Over harvesting of sea life in freshwater ecosystems and ocean ecosystems
- Pesticide and toxic chemical wastelands
- Introducing non-native species into an area
These factors seriously damage the proper order of an ecosystem. Some people might not think that it is worth it to try to save the different ecosystems. However, it really is very important. Most drugs that are in use today have a plant base, and so if ecosystems are not kept alive, then these drugs would no longer be available for use.
In addition, bees and other such insects do a great portion of pollination. Destroying ecosystem services that support such insects would destroy almost all the plant population as well, because the plants would not be pollinated. This is why it is so important to restore and protect our ecosystems.
There are a lot of reasons to keep ecosystem services running smoothly. Not the least of these is the fact that humans would probably die out without natural ecosystems to keep nature in order. We should remember how important ecosystems are to our world. It’s not like we all have somewhere else to go if things don’t work out here on earth.