Regulating Services: The Basics
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification of ecosystem services comprised four major categories: provisioning services, regulatory services, cultural services, and supporting services. Regulatory services are defined by the Millennium Assessment as ecosystem processes “. . .that affect climate, floods, disease, wastes, and water quality”. Cumulatively, these regulatory services are essential to moderate climate, hazards, hydrology, and pests and to purify air, land, and water resources. Wetlands are particularly significant in moderating water-vectored services such as floods and storm surges. However, many of these services are not valued by market economics, leaving them vulnerable to degradation in favor of more narrowly framed services. The Ramsar Convention’s “wise use” concept recognizes the needs to balance the regulatory benefits provided by wetland systems with the production of provisioning, cultural, and supporting services.