Ecosystems provide people

Ecosystems provide people with a variety of goods and services ; food , clean water , clean air , flood control , soil stabilization , pollination , climate regulation , spiritual fulfilment and aesthetic enjoyment , to name just a few . Most of these benefits either are irreplaceable or the technology necessary to replace them is prohibitively expensive . For example , potable fresh water can be provided by desalinating sea – water , but only at great cost . The rapidly expanding human population has greatly modified the Earth’s ecosystems to meet their increased requirements of some of the goods and services , particularly food , fresh water , timber , fibre and fuel . These modifications have contributed substantially to human well being and economic development . The benefits have not been equally distributed . Some people have actually been harmed by these changes . Moreover , short term increases in some ecosystem goods and services have come at the cost of the long – term degradation of others . For example , efforts to increase the production of food and fibre have decreased the ability of some ecosystems to provide clean water , regulate flooding and support biodiversity .

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