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Ecosystem Provisioning Services: Producing food while preserving biodiversity

Ecosystem Provisioning Services - Healthy ecosystems and sustainable food production 

The world ecosystems’ natural resources are both the foundation of all food systems and the source of all raw natural material. Provisioning services (food and material benefits people obtain from ecosystems) contribute heavily to global economies - which makes being aware of their value increasingly important. 

The challenge? To build strategies for truly sustainable production systems, where all sectors, interest groups and individuals involved in the production chain understand and recognize their reliance and support of ecosystems. To this end, analyzing both the services provided by each type of ecosystem involved in the production process, as well as their interactions with agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and forestry, etc. is an important first step towards this goal. Such data helps gain a holistic, less utilitarian perspective regarding ecosystems, as well as a more precise understanding of natural capital. Assessments with this sort of information include the soon to be published IPBES' 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Key points: Provisioning services

High biodiversity can be achieved through the successful integration of all three dimensions of sustainability (society, economy and the environment) into food production practices: 

In this regard, the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems (RLE); the standard framework for ecosystem risk assessment around the world, is a valuable tool capable of providing the actual status of an ecosystem, to which extent it is at risk of collapsing and under which threats. Data capable of helping to expand the global community's knowledge about ecosystems, inform about changes in the ecosystems that underpin the provision of ecosystem services, and provide stakeholders with details that better inform their decisions on sustainable raw material extraction and food production actions, policies and investments.

Furthermore, the IUCN RLE methodology (which can be applied at local, national, regional and global scales) is objective, transparent and repeatable. It can be implemented as a key baseline measurement and monitoring tool for both ecosystem health and biodiversity as a way to identify management strategies required to maintain ecosystem functionality. All data which can be then used by interested parties to tap into ecosystem services in a more sustainable and efficient manner. 

In order to fight the climate crisis, enhance food security and water supply, and maximize conservation efforts to protect biodiversity, expanding the global coverage of RLE assessments is paramount. This will not only help to establish both stronger alliances and policies to manage threatened ecosystems but also increase community knowledge about ecosystems as the source of all natural resources and safeguard our planet's productive potential in the years to come. 



Written by: Clara Gómez

Style and format: Lila García and Clara Gómez

Provita Jul 10, 2019


IUCN Red List of Ecosystems


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