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Ecosystem Services

There may be hidden value or potential right at your feet in stewardship practices you already do or could incorporate with ease into your on-farm systems and create ecosystem service benefits.

The concept of ecosystem services is fairly simple. Healthy soil grows healthy crops. Healthy forests produce clean air. Healthy watersheds provide clean water all year long. Every thing we do on the landscape affects an ecosystem. How much change an ecosystem can take before it can no longer do its job depends on the rate of change and the type of ecosystem. You are an ecosystem and so is the planet.

You can cut your finger and get on with your day, but then there is the phrase, “death by 1,000 cuts.” You can call just about any functioning system an ecosystem – your farm, your geographical region, the watershed of your local creek or the North American Great Plains region. No matter the size or type of the ecosystem it will have shocks it can tolerate and gradual degradation that will eventually kill it.

Ecosystem services come from healthy systems, so what role can landowners and managers play in mitigating large scale ecosystem degradation?

This is the question the Ecoservices Network working group wants to answer. Its stated intent is to find a way for landowners to access a market for stewardship of landscapes. Visit the website and learn about its activities and member groups.