Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital are different but closely related concepts.
Ecosystem Services refers to the benefits that humans derive from natural ecosystems. They are the direct and indirect contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being. These benefits can be divided into four categories:
- provisioning services (e.g., food, water, timber)
- regulating services (e.g., climate regulation, pollination)
- cultural services (e.g., recreation, spiritual value)
- supporting services (e.g., nutrient cycling, soil formation)
Natural capital refers to the stock of natural resources and assets that provide these ecosystem services. It includes all the living and non-living components of an ecosystem, such as plants, animals, minerals, and water resources. Natural capital can be thought of as the foundation or conditions which give rise to ecosystem services.
In summary, ecosystem services are the benefits that humans receive from natural ecosystems, while natural capital is the stock of natural resources and assets that provide these benefits. Understanding the relationship between ecosystem services and natural capital is important for sustainable development and effective management of natural resources.