A community of different species and the area they live in is defined as an ecosystem. Ecosystems are differentiated by how its species community is composed and what characteristics the area they live in describes. Forests, lakes, but also cities are good examples for ecosystems.

The term ecosystem services (ESS) describes all benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. Simple examples are wood or fish, but also the fresh air we breath or the fresh water we drink. Without ecosystem services, no human life would be possible on this planet. The more different ESS are provided by an ecosystem, the higher its value for life on earth. 

There were defined three categories for the various types of ESS:

  • Provisioning services are all material benefits the ecosystem provides for us. This includes all food, but also building materials or resources for medications and many other.
  • Regulating services include all benefits that are relevant for the regulation of processes. Flood regulation, pollination and water quality regulation are some of the most important services here.
  • Cultural services describe all ESS that support recreation, aesthetic experiences and spiritual fulfilment. This category also includes educational services.

The term of ESS has become a key concept in the connection of natural and social sciences and helps to understand the relationship between humans and nature. It is an important tool for decision makers and landscape planners to understand the relevance and value of functioning ecosystems.

To live without privation, people depend on services from all three categories. In an advanced artificial ecosystem like a city in a developed country, luckily most of us can access all services needed to cover our needs. However, many services are under pressure (clean water, fresh air and so on), and the ones available are rarely sustainable!

think.dk changes this. We apply the ESS concept to the urban ecosystem. On our services page, you find our provisioning services in the convenience section; regulating services are grouped under balance and the culture section contains all cultural services offered by think.dk. We want to offer you the whole package - so you can live your life to the fullest without having to worry about the kind of world your kids will grow up in.

If you want to read more about the Ecosystem Services concept, please click here and here.