Benefits from the environment Our environment provides a wide range of benefits, such as the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink, as well as the many materials needed in our homes, at work and for leisure activities.
But a lot of what comes from the environment, and its chemical, physical and biological components, is taken for granted. For example, nature can prevent flooding by storing water, keep our water clean by processing and diluting pollutants, and provide enjoyment, inspiration and a place to socialise. The environment is often managed to extract or create products that can be sold, but this can be at the expense of other benefits that are equally important. Work is underway across Europe to improve our knowledge about the ways that our environment provides benefits, for if we, and nature, are to keep healthy we need the environment to function well. Pollution, intensive land use and over exploitation of key minerals, for instance, can all stifle systems that support oakley sunglassess life and reduce or destroy the where to buy cheap oakleys benefits. Economically, we get huge gains from the environment, and recent research has highlighted this in Scotland. You can find links to up to date information about this on the Scottish Natural Heritage website, along with information on Scotland's Natural Capital Asset Index. Several case studies have been created into flipbooks describing land use strategy pilots; including studies from Aberdeen and Stirling. Aberdeen Land Use Strategy Flipbook (PDF version 1.7MB) This Aberdeen Land Use Strategy pilot project used detailed GIS based analysis and created an online, interactive tool for visualisation of the impact on 4 services. It looked at the impacts of policy scenarios on land use and provision of ecosystem services. The interactive tool which gives users the opportunity to explore the consequences of different weightings of policy areas on provision of four ecosystem services. The InVEST model was used to model sediment export and nitrogen retention. Carbon sequestration and woodland expansion were also modelled. This case study provides useful points about modelling service provision and communicating results via interactive tools for visualisation. Carse of Stirling Flipbook (PDF version 0.5MB) This Carse of Stirling Stakeholder engagement is at the heart of this project. The case study highlights key points for getting the best out of engagement using ecosystem services, in terms of language, jargon and mapping. The project mapped the current location of land uses based on a limited number of datasets; relative provision of 28 ecosystem services was estimated by assigning a score to each land use for each service. Realistic scenarios for future management of the Carse were created. A summary of the likely changes to provision of ecosystem services as a result of each scenario was provided to stimulate discussion. Stakeholders intuitively understood trade offs and opportunities for multiple benefits arising from this approach. Most of our food, water and fuel comes directly or indirectly from the environment. Fuel for warmth, timber for building, and the fuel in our cars all come from nature. The natural environment provides income from oakley five sunglasses tourism, and resources oakley outlet online shop for development. In the past our environment has often been over exploited to provide products which mean its ability to provide the full range of benefits is jeopardised. Wise and sustainable use of our environment allows us to replace and replenish resources, rather than losing them forever. The environment is amazingly well able to keep itself in check. Regulating services are vital for healthy ecosystems and are largely taken for granted. Our air, water and food have been through a huge range of physical, chemical and biological interactions that are naturally regulated. The dispersal and dilution of pollutants, steady supply of clean water, protection of our coast, prevention of flooding, regulation of our climate through locking away of carbon, and pollination of crops are all governed by 'regulators' in the environment often the combined work of chemicals, microbes and insects. How we make use of these services is often controlled, as excessive use of one service (for example, discharging sewage into rivers to dilution and process it) can reduce the environment's ability to provide others. The way we manage our environment can prevent regulatory services being lost. For example, reducing flooding by restoring wetlands on farmland, which can reduce the speed at which water runs off the land. We get massive benefits to our health, well being and quality of life from the environment. These include recreation, inspiration, spirituality and learning. Watching wild birds, mountaineering in a beautiful landscape or visiting a special historic building are all 'cultural' benefits of the environment. The colour and texture of the rocks making up a castle can tell us as much about the origins of the earth and its geology as it does about the history of the people who built it. We do not even have to visit these places to benefit from them; people value the mere existence of some habitats and wildlife, often in remote mountains, without ever going there.
Just the thought of Scottish wildcats, golden eagles or capercaillie living in the wild can be enough to make people feel happy. An enormous range of places offer us pleasure and enjoyment, including green spaces in towns and cities, rivers, lochs, seashores, farmland, forests and remote wildland. Many important areas are protected by law, but not all areas that are valued for their cultural benefits can be deliberately protected.
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