Protecting Ecosystem Services
When we replace our natural systems with urban growth, we lose important regulating ecosystem services, such as clean air, clean water and flood control that nature provides us for free.
In fact, it's a problem in urban areas world-wide.
"Human activity is putting such strain on the natural functions of the earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted." -2005 United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The bottom line is…we can’t continue on the same path that we’ve been on and protect our children's and grandchildren’s futures. We must integrate sustainable practices into our culture.
It can incorporate natural and/or engineered systems that mimic natural processes --
to provide, protect, maintain, or enhance ecosystem services in human dominated landscapes.Traditionally, cities have used gray infrastructure (stormwater inlets and pipes) to control and efficiently move water runoff away from properties. This helps to prevent flooding and control water quantity, but moving forward we have to not only move the water but slow it down to reduce erosion and clean it as it moves through the system toward streams.
Check out how other cities are using green infrastructure.
Ecosystem Services are what nature provides us for free.
These can include:
Provisioning servicessuch as food production, water sources, resources like wood an fibers and fuels.
Supporting servicessuch as soil formation, nutrient cycling, and habitat provision.
Cultural servicessuch as spiritual, aesthetic, educational, and recreational opportunities.
Regulating servicessuch as climate, weather, and flood regulation and water purification.