Ecosystem services are the goods and services provided by an ecosystem that translate into benefits for people. Some examples of ecosystem services include nutrient cycling, flood control, water filtration, and habitat for plants and animals. Understanding how anthropogenic activities impact the ecosystem by valuing the ecosystem goods and services give information on how valuable the ecosystem is.
Ecosystem services integrate ecological economics and best available natural science. Ecosystem services provide a way to look at ecosystem functions in an economic context. An example of this would be putting a price on how much water is filtered by riparian plants a day by calculating the cost of filtering that same amount of water using a wastewater treatment plant.
Further information on ecosystem services can be found through online publications: