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Health and SustainabilityAn Introduction$
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Tee L. Guidotti

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199325337

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199325337.001.0001

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Ecosystem Services and Health

Ecosystem Services and Health

(p.264) 8 Ecosystem Services and Health
Health and Sustainability

Tee L. Guidotti

Oxford University Press

Ecosystem services are functions performed by the natural environment that have economic value and that are performed by ecosystems without human intervention (other than to protect the ecosystem). These services cannot be easily replaced by technological means, and so conservation is the only logical mode of management. When the United Nations’ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment documented the status of twenty-four essential ecosystem services, fifteen were evaluated as being degraded or in decline. Water is fundamental to many of the ecosystem services, but only 3 percent of the world’s water is fresh water, and it is unevenly distributed. A relatively new approach to protect ecosystem services is to have users pay to preserve the ecosystem, an idea known as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES). Use of indicators is an effective method used to determine the status of a complex system. Sustainability usually assumes human agency and human benefit, but natural environmental events can affect health.

Keywords:   ecosystem services, natural environment, economic value, valuation, biodiversity, evolution, water, “Payment for Ecosystem Services” (PES)

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