Infographic: Ecosystem Services - Healthy versus Degraded system
The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) report defined ecosystem services as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems” and categorized them as supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural. The MEA explanatory diagram defined the links between human wellbeing and ecosystem services in terms of security, basic material for a good life, health and good social relations.
IUCN Water decided to revisit this MEA diagram, redrawing it to further emphasize the complex and dynamic relationship between ecosystem services and the components of human well being from a freshwater perspective. The new diagram aims to more intuitively demonstrate the extent to which both rich and poor livelihoods are dependent on the sustainability of ecosystems and the variety of services that they provide.
Where ecosystem services are not maintained through, for example, river basin and land management, or choices are made which prioritize food production which can degrade the ecosystem, benefits to human wellbeing may be dramatically reduced. Equally, external factors such as climate change can adversely affect the stock of services an ecosystem provides. This breakdown in services means that people may get fewer benefits from nature.
The other graphic demonstrates a decline in ecosystem services due to degradation or exploitation. Where these linkages break down, choices can be made to invest in restoration of ecosystem services and in turn can bring back the benefits they provide.
Infographics: Ecosystem Services - Healthy versus Degraded system
Photo: ©IUCN Water
Infographic: Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus
Water, energy and food security rely on water infrastructure. Recognition of the closely bound interaction between water, energy and food production and use – the nexus - has led to new demands for water infrastructure and technology solutions.
How is water infrastructure currently being used? What technologies are available to optimize across water supply sources? How can infrastructure be made more functional and sustainable to secure water supplies, food production and energy generation, without compromising the ecosystems we all rely on?
Development of infrastructure plays a pivotal role in making water available for agriculture, electricity generation and water supply. This infrastructure
includes engineered structures such as dams, reservoirs, canals and irrigation systems. But it also includes ecosystems and watersheds that act as ‘natural infrastructure’: mangroves that buffer against severe storms, floodplains that absorb flood waters, forests that stabilize soils, lakes and wetlands that clean and store water. If this natural infrastructure is healthy and well-functioning, it supports built infrastructure to protect, store, clean and deliver water for cross sectoral nexus water requirements.
Optimizing infrastructure for the nexus will mean mixing portfolios of engineered and natural infrastructure. Each component complements the other, with benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness, risk reduction, sustainable development and benefit sharing.
For IUCN's work on the Nexus Dialogue on Water Infrastructure Solutions, visit www.waternexussolutions.org
Infographic: Interactions between water, energy, food
Photo: ©IUCN Water