ECOSYSTEM SERVICES - WHAT ARE THEY?

In order to identify, describe and make visible the benefits we get from marine ecosystems, we talk about ecosystem services. The term is used in both research, administration, politics and social debate.

Ecosystem services are divided into four groups:

  • supporting services (e.g. habitats and biodiversity)

  • regulating services (e.g. climate and atmosphere regulation)

  • provisioning services (e.g. food and raw materials for industry)

  • cultural services (e.g. cultural heritage and recreation)

These ecosystem services are directly and indirectly linked to our well-being. To be at or in the sea, for example, affects our physical and mental health. Fish and other foods we get from the sea provide us with food and important nutrients, but are also a source of income for many. The sea and what it offers us is an important part of our cultural heritage as well.

To manage the sea and its animal and plant life in a long-term and sustainable way, good knowledge of ecosystem services is required. Today we know the least about regulating services, but also very little about cultural services. This is partly due to a lack of scientific studies and partly because studies require research across disciplinary boundaries, especially between natural and social sciences. Cultural services in particular include many different types of abstract links to the sea that are difficult to study, such as associations, memories and feelings. There is a great lack of knowledge in this area — therefore it has been particularly interesting to try to highlight these aspects in the exhibition.