30 May 2013 | Human existence depends on ecosystem services, and while some are quite obvious – think carbon sequestration and water regulation – others, like soil regulation, are not. But they are all equally important and necessary in sustaining life, which is why there is a growing understanding and appreciation for these services. It's also why the preservation and conservation of valuable ecosystems is appearing in government policies and planning.
For instance, the White House's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which coordinates the executive branch's environmental efforts, has recently released an updated version of the 1983 Principles and Guidelines on Water and Land Related Resources Implementation Studies to include an ecosystem services approach to the evaluation process. Previous guidelines focused almost exclusively on economic factors.