Ecosystem Services and Climate Urgency

 Ecosystem Services and Climate Urgency

Several studies report the importance of preserving natural ecosystems and reconstituting degraded systems to maintain life on Earth. However, the current situation is not so rosy.

By Luís Miguel da Costa / AJN

Ecosystem services are defined in the literature as the benefits provided to the human species from nature in a direct way, such as food, or in an indirect way, such as climate regulation. They ensure our well-being. But what is the status of our ecosystems and who protects their well-being

For decades, anthropic actions have put pressure on natural systems, mainly through the deforestation of native forests, the expansion of agricultural frontiers, and through urbanization. The consequences of this exploitation are becoming increasingly evident: among them are the occurrence of extreme weather events altering the entire hydrological cycle and average temperatures, the loss of fauna and flora diversity, wild animals taking refuge in urban environments.


Several studies have reported the importance of preserving natural ecosystems and the reconstitution of degraded systems to maintain life on Earth. However, the current situation is not so rosy: some scientists have pointed out that they do not see the deforestation of native forests to be over so soon, especially in the tropical areas.

The Brazilian Forest Code (12651/12) provides general rules about what are the Permanent Protection Areas (PPA) and Legal Reserves (LR), while establishing how they should be protected and how they can and cannot be used. To ensure the implementation of these measures, some agencies supervise and regulate these areas. Two of the best known in Brazil are IBAMA and ICMBio: they have suffered several cuts in funding and personnel in recent times. In addition to these federal agencies, the work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as SOS Mata Atlantica and WWF Brazil has been fundamental for the conservation of ecosystems in the country. Despite the huge effort of these and other organizations, the current Brazilian scenario is extremely worrying. 

Recently, the Chamber of Deputies approved Law 14119/21, which creates the National Policy of Payment for Environmental Services (PNPSA). This law establishes mechanisms that price Ecosystem Services, remunerating individual or collective activities that favor the maintenance, recovery, or improvement of Ecosystem Services. But will this new policy truly help the conservation of our ecosystems?

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