Technical report 125



“The variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems” (UN Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), Article 2, 1992a).


“The system composed of physical-chemical-biological processes active within a space-time unit of any magnitude” (Lindeman, 1942).

Ecosystem approach

“Environmental management based on our best understanding of the ecological interactions and processes necessary to sustain ecosystem composition, structure and function” (Christensen et al, 1996).

Ecosystem services (ES)

Direct and indirect contribution of ecosystems to human well-being (TEEB, 2010a).

“The benefits people derive from ecosystems – the support of sustainable human well-being that ecosystems provide” (Costanza et al, 1997; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005b) … “arising from the interaction of society, the built economy, and ecosystems (social, built and natural capital)” (Costanza et al, 2014).

Ecosystem services approach

Establishing “the linkages between ecosystem structures and process functioning … which are understood to … lead directly or indirectly to valued human welfare benefits” (Turner and Daily, 2008).

Final services

Those components of nature that are enjoyed, consumed or used to yield human well-being (Boyd and Banzhaf, 2007).

Intermediate services

Those components of nature that are not enjoyed, consumed or used directly to yield human well-being (Boyd and Banzhaf, 2007).

Natural Capital

The elements of nature that directly or indirectly produce value or benefits to people, including ecosystems, species, freshwater, land, minerals, the air and oceans, as well as natural processes and functions (UK NCC, 2014).

“The biophysical components of ecosystems – land, water, air, minerals, biodiversity” (Costanza, 2008).

Service-providing units (SPU)

Biological components that provide, or might provide in the future, a recognised ecosystem service at some temporal or spatial scale (Luck et al, 2003).