The idea that nature provides services to people is one of the most powerful concepts to emerge in the last two decades.
It is shaping our understanding of the role of biodiverse ecosystems in the environment and their benefits to humanity.
As a result, there is growing interest in the operational and methodological issues surrounding ecosystem services among environmental managers, and many institutions are developing teaching programmes to equip the next generation with the skills needed to apply the concepts more effectively.
This manual provides a comprehensive reference text on ecosystem services, integrating natural and social sciences (including economics).
Collectively, the chapters, written by the world's leading authorities, demonstrate the importance of biodiversity to people, policies and practices.
They also show how the value of ecosystems to society can be expressed in monetary and non-monetary terms, so that the environment can be better taken into account in decision-making.
The importance of the ecosystem services paradigm is that it helps us to redefine and better communicate the relationship between people and nature.
It shows how they are essential to solving problems such as sustainable development and poverty reduction, and the creation of a green economy in the contexts of developing and developed countries.