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3.1.2 Do natural habitat, ecological functions and ecosystem services always match?

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Habitat classification constitutes a proven starting-point for describing ecosystems. However, one habitat remains a place where many biophysical processes occur and a system which provides several ecological functions: thus, within a whole ecosystem services assessment framework, one habitat may contribute to several functions and services while a service may depend on several functions and habitats.

Relationships between habitats, functions and services are then multiple, complex and non-bijective. An important step in the qualitative assessment of ecosystem services in a given study site is therefore to identify the major ecological functions and the main ecosystem services which are an issue for ecological social concerns.

The following table provides a list of biological functions and their definitions. Each of these ecological functions may generate a series of ecosystem services.

Table: List of beneficial ecological functions and their definitions. Some ecological processes that influence the functions are provided. (Modified from TEEB, 2009; Fletcher et al., 2011).

3 1 2  Beneficial ecologic functions

The following figure depicts the way ecological functions and ecosystem goods and services are the most likely to interact.

3 1 2  Ecological functions and ecosystem services
Figure: Ecological functions and ecosystem services [Townsend et al., 2011]

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