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Saturday, July 22, 2006

A global view.

Our new group is primarily interested in a small part of Somerset about 15 miles by 7 miles in size and contains an interesting mix of wildlife, geographical features recreational and employment opportunities.

However it is stimulating to see what other conservation groups are doing around the world. Here are some extracts from a study carried out by the New Zealand Government Department of Conservation.

The value of conservation
Background on "ecosystem services"
The air we breathe, the water we drink, the soils that sustain our pastures, forestry, orchards and crops are examples of environmental goods that benefit humans. Without them, life on Earth would be impossible.
These goods – air, water and soil – arise from interactions between living things, such as chemical reactions and mechanical processes. Ecosystem processes that benefit humans are called “ecosystem services”.

Ecosystem services are often taken for granted, because they are “free”, that is, not traded directly in markets – unlike fish, vegetables and timber.

The report identifies four areas of benefit to human society provided by ecosystem services.

Provisioning services.
Regulating services.
Supporting services.
Cultural services.

The examples given are similar to those enjoyed in Somerset!
In the reports conclusion it states:

The first steps in preventing further decline in ecosystems (and the services they provide) are to recognise that they have economic values, and to attempt to measure at least some of them. Armed with this information, the Department hopes to make better-informed conservation decisions, and increase public awareness of what is at stake in our national parks and, generally, on public conservation land.

Visit the DOC web site to see the full report.

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