At the moment we are in a Natural Resources momentum, which started in 2000 with the report called by the UN to value ecosystem services and impacts. This report consists of a well-structured methodology to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. In the same direction the World Resources Institute designed the Corporate Ecosystem Services Review, a methodology to develop strategies to manage risks to the ecosystems for the purpose of providing vital services by balancing the corporate and local population interests with the environment. In October 2013 the first World Forum on Natural Capital was held in Edinburgh. More than 500 delegates from a variety of different sectors ranging from NGO, industries to governments and development agencies attended this conference.
Ecosystem Resilience can be understood as the capacity of a system to continue providing ecosystem services (e.g. food production, water purification, erosion control) after a natural disaster impact without losing its functional properties and continue to develop. Resilient ecosystems do not only provide food and livelihoods for humans but they are also crucial for natural hazard regulation. Environmental degradation is reducing the capacity of ecosystems to meet the needs of people for food, and is risen hazard for poor population, especially women, to natural disasters because they depend on environmental resources for protection and livelihoods. Therefore, investing in ecosystem management practices such as natural barriers for coastal protection can contribute to natural disaster protection and climate regulation.
What is ecosystem services management?
The well-being of people and the continuity of economic activities all over the world depends on the various goods and services provided by ecosystems, including food, fuel, construction materials, clean water and air, and protection from natural hazards. Ecosystems, however, are under increasing pressure from unsustainable use and other threats including outright conversion, deforestation. To address this concern, Aquasis Solutions promotes the management of ecosystems through the wider application of the Ecosystem Approach – a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that places human needs at its centre. We add to this definition the implementation of social and business model for local population.
What are fully functioning ecosystems ?
The term implies that ecosystems are large intact and functioning, provides clean water and food and that the resources use does not exceed supply in consideration of future generations. Fully functioning ecosystems such as intact forest, wetlands, mountains, and coral reefs are beneficial to local populations for the many livelihoods benefits and products that they provide: firewood, clean water, fibres medicine and food, while acting as natural buffers to hazard event for flood abatement, slope stabilization, coastal protection and avalanche protection.
Linking ecosystem services and Procurement Security of raw materials
Ecosystem can secure water for food and other activities if properly well-managed. Further, ecosystem provide natural infrastructure (e.g. recharge of soil nutrients, erosion regulation) to contribute to water provision, regulation and purification. For example in the state of New York the economic value of rural nature or Catskill Mountain, from which the city of New York gets most its water, in preventing water pollution ranged from US $ 250 millions.
There are two reasons why ecosystem matters to securing water for food:
- Human well-being depends on ecosystems that enable people to get clean water. Vegetation influence the amount of water circulating at watershed level. Disaster-resilient communities, especially in rural areas, are based on healthy ecosystems and diverse livelihoods.
- There are clear links between resource degradation and water risk. Degraded ecosystems are unable to provide the benefits that help communities to reduce their vulnerability to water scarcity, flood risk and other impacts related to groundwater. In addition, many natural or economic disasters are caused by reoccurring conflicts, which are based on competition for scarce water – and once a conflict has started it can also lead to additional environmental degradation