The biodiversity and ecological processes (e.g. growth, decomposition, nutrient cycling) within natural ecosystems combine to provide a wide range of services that contribute to human well-being. Climate regulation through carbon sequestration and storage is one of these. Others include provision of food and other products, pollination, pest control, regulation of fresh water supplies and maintenance of soil and its fertility.
Climate change mitigation measures that support the maintenance of ecosystems therefore help secure important co-benefits in addition to carbon storage. However, it remain a major challenge to identify which areas are of particular importance for different ecosystem services and how they should best be addressed in land use planning and natural resource management.
Deeper understanding of the following issues surrounding ecosystem services is of importance as a next step towards addressing the challenge:
- The identification of areas of importance for different ecosystem services using appropriate criteria (e.g. proximity to people immediately depending on these services);
- The distribution of areas of importance for different ecosystem services across space;
- The spatial relation of these areas to
- Carbon-dense areas that may become focal areas for the implementation of climate change mitigation measures;
- Areas of importance for biodiversity.
- Major populated places;
Which ecosystem services are of particular importance for people in different places varies and is largely dependent on country- and site-specific situations. Where data exist, we are considering ecosystem services in our co-benefits work.