2 Global Human Dependence on Ecosystem Services
The global economy is a subsidiary of the biosphere (Rees 1998). Thus, as our use of the planet’s resources intensifies, the Earth’s complex life-support systems are coming under an unprecedented degree of human pressure (MA 2005b). Incorporating global society’s dependence on these systems into our thinking is therefore imperative to help understand the full effects of our behavior. An ecosystem services approach helps address this issue by constructing a framework for explicitly characterizing the various ways the biosphere renders benefits to humans.
In this chapter, we first define ecosystem services. We then provide explicit examples of services ...