The Wetland Book pp 1005-1007 | Cite as

Provisioning Services: The Basics

  • Mark Everard
Reference work entry


Ecosystem services describe the diverse benefits that the natural world provides to people. The UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment program harmonization a range of pre-existing ecosystem service classification schemes into a consistent system suitable for comparison of major habitat types on a global basis. The primary division within the MA classification scheme was the grouping of ecosystem services into four major categories: provisioning services, regulatory services, cultural services, and supporting services.

Provisioning services comprise extractible products from ecosystems such as food, water, timber, and fiber. The whole of the human economy is driven by the goods and services provided by ecosystems and natural resources including minerals, fossil fuels derived from ancient vegetative matter, water, timber and food, as well as medicinal and biochemical products produced. These are all provisioning services, and wetland systems may be significant producers of them. Intensive extraction and production of these provisioning services has a profound impact on the environment, particularly as driven by ever more efficient technologies focused narrowly on the maximization of single services to the exclusion of most others. Management of ecosystems for provisioning services production need to be cognizant of wider implicaitons for toher services.


Food Timber Aggregates Fossil fuel Extractible materials Goods 


  1. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems & human well-being: synthesis. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2005a.Google Scholar
  2. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Ecosystems and human well-being: wetlands and water synthesis. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute; 2005b.Google Scholar
  3. UK National Ecosystem Assessment. The UK national ecosystem assessment: synthesis of the key findings. Cambridge, UK: UNEP-WCMC; 2011.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Water Security Network, University of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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