The natural environment is being degraded and we are beginning to realise that protecting and enhancing our ecosystems is essential, if we are to continue benefiting from all the things the natural environment provides us with. Three new animations, funded by the Interreg North Sea Region WaterCoG project, have been created by The Rivers Trust to visually introduce natural capital and ecosystem services in three films. The first introduces the subjects, the second provides context for soil and land management, and the third film has been created to provide context for investment decisions. Barry Bendall, Director Water and Land at The Rivers Trust, said: “I hope these animations generate a more shared understanding of the terms ‘Natural Capital’ and ‘Ecosystem Services’ and how they can be applied to real-world examples. In particular, they help bridge the gap between policy language and practical understanding for those that perhaps have the greatest opportunity to protect and conserve our shared natural resources”. Watch the animations here:What is Natural Capital and what are Ecosystem Services? Natural Capital is defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets such as soil, air, water and all living things. Natural capital assets can be either renewable e.g. soil and water, or non-renewable e.g. minerals and gas. Natural capital provides a ‘flow’ of ecosystem services - the services or benefits that these natural assets provide society. These services are split into 4 categories:
- Provisioning Services - products obtained from nature such as: food, water, timber and fuel.
- Regulating Services – services provided by nature that regulate the environment such as: climate change, disease regulation, air/water quality, pollination.
- Cultural Services – benefits provided by nature which enrich our lives, such as: recreational services, learning, religious or spiritual services, tourism.
- Supporting Services – services which help other services to function: soil formation, nutrient cycling and photosynthesis.