Regulating services

Benefits obtained from the processes that regulate the natural environment

Climate regulation

Regulating carbon capture and storage

As trees and plants grow, they filter carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (sequestration) by absorbing and storing it in their tissues.

Regulation of air quality

Trees and other plants play an important role in regulating air quality by removing pollutants from the atmosphere thereby improving human well-being.

Shade and temperature regulation

Trees and vegetation cool surface and air temperatures by providing shade through evapotranspiration.

Did you know?

Harmful pollutants removed by nature include O3, CO, SO2, NO2 , and particulate pollutants as well as CO2.

Purifying water

Nature regulates the flow and quality of water through the filtration of particles, pathogens, excess nutrients, and other chemicals thereby improving the quality of water used directly (e.g. for drinking) or indirectly (e.g. for irrigation purposes).

Regulation of hazards and extreme events (storm protection)

Nature and living organisms create buffers (e.g. coastal mangroves) against extreme weather events or natural hazards including floods, storms, tsunamis and landslides, thereby preventing and limiting possible damage to the landscape and people within the region.

Did you know?

In the case of the Californian Napa City, USA, the Napa river basin was restored to its natural capacity by means of creating mudflats, marshes and wetlands around the city (TEEBcase by Almack 2010). This has effectively controlled flooding to such an extent that a significant amount of money, property, and human lives could be saved.

Erosion prevention and soil fertility

Vegetation cover provides for sediment retention and erosion control as well as soil formation and maintenance of soil structure and processes (such as decomposition and nutrient cycling) that underlie the continued fertility of soils important to support plant growth and food production in agricultural systems. In coastal areas, mangroves play a crucial role in protection against coastal erosion and sediment loss.

Crop pollination and seed dispersal

Nature and organisms facilitate plant reproduction through the movement of pollen among flowers, so ensuring fruit production. Through water, wind, gravity and birds and other animals, nature facilitates the dispersal of seeds, larvae or spores of other organisms to ensure plant population viability and survival.

Regulation of organisms detrimental to humans

The regulation of pests, pathogens, predators, competitors, etc. that affect humans, plants and animals is facilitated by nature. Through symbiotic relationships, such as parasitism, predation and competition in ecosystems, among organisms and populations nature has the ability to regulate pests and diseases to ensure that ecosystems function optimally. Organisms including birds, bats, frogs, flies and fungi all act as natural controls.

Click on the orange dots for some examples of regulating ecosystem services from mangroves:

Mangroves protect coastal areas from storm surges

Nature helps cities adapt to and mitigate climate change impacts

Mangroves provide breeding grounds for fish