Ecosystem Services

As the socio-economic and cultural values of natural ecosystems are increasingly being recognised, so is  our knowledge of the range and diversity of the ecosystem services they provide. In 2003, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment suggested a simple typology to summarise the various services from natural ecosystems. This typology has been adapted and revised to outline the various ecosystem services we might expect from protected areas and lists the benefits associated with these services.


The IUCN WCPA Natural Solutions Specialist Group is focussing it work on five main areas: food, water, disaster risk reduction, health and climate change. Each of these issues is described in more detail and has a specific section on this website. Other Specialist Groups within IUCN WCPA which look at related issues include:

Healthy Parks Healthy People
Cultural and Spiritual Values


The IUCN PANORAMA initiative is collecting case studies on how protected areas are supporting wider socio-economic goals; many of these fit into the area of interest of the Natural Solutions specialist group. We will be working closely with PANORAMA to build an improved database of information on protected area values in the future.