West Eugene Wetlands Annual Report 2010

In 2004, the United Nations undertook a project called the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, wherein they gathered input from over 1,300 scientists who analyzed, assessed and summarized the state of the Earth’s ecosystems. Their report included an analysis of the benefits that humans receive from the variety of resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. Collectively, we refer to these benefits and values as “ecosystem services” which include products like drinking water, and processes like nutrient cycling. While the term ecosystem services is not new, it has become an increasingly important concept guiding how we think about the ecosystems around us and our dependency upon them.