Communicating Nature's Value
The natural environment has progressively declined over the past 70 years. You might think this would hit the headlines and that everyone would see there is a big risk in allowing the degradation of the natural world. The problem is that communicating this issue is really difficult!
We can't tell you why you should care for nature because only you know why it matters to you. The Suffolk Marine Pioneer wants us all to recognise the value of nature. But just what is the value of nature?
We invited people to pick up their cameras and capture 'Nature's value' through photography. The images on this page are a selection of winning, highly commended and judges favourites from the ‘Nature’s value’ photo competition, held March -May 2019.
This competition wasn’t simply a question of taking lots of pretty pictures of the environment though. These images play an important role in helping to start discussion around the value of nature. This is imperative in 2019 because we have the opportunity to turn the tide on our declining environment. The Government have a plan to improve the natural world across England in 25 years and believe it is only possible if we begin to understand how nature supports us and brings us benefit. To do this, we need to understand the value of nature in our day to day lives, as communities and as a country. We can start doing this by understanding what nature means to one another.
The value of nature is huge, but it is hard to define. Scientists have classified the different types of benefits we get from the natural world. These are known as ecosystem services. There are 4 categories of ecosystem service which provided a basis for our competition. They are explained below
- Provisioning services are the products that are obtained from ecosystems, such as: food, fibre, fuel, genetic resources, biochemicals, natural medicines, pharmaceuticals, water, and building materials.
- Regulating services are the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes, these include: air quality maintenance, climate regulation, water regulation and purification, erosion control, waste treatment, regulation of human diseases, biological control, pollination, and protection from extreme weather and climatic events.
- Cultural services are nonphysical benefits that humans obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences. These services are connected to human behaviour and values, as well as institutions and patterns of political, social and economic organisation. Cultural services include: cultural diversity, spiritual and religious values, knowledge systems, educational values, inspiration, aesthetic values, social relations, sense of place, cultural heritage values, and tourism.
- Supporting services are those which are necessary for the production of all other ecosystem services. They differ from other services as their impacts on humans are indirect, or occur over a long time period. Some services, such as erosion control, can be categorised as a supporting and regulating service (depending on the time scale and immediacy of their impact on humans). Examples of supporting services include: production of atmospheric oxygen (through photosynthesis), primary production, soil formation and retention, nutrient cycling, water cycling and provisioning of habitat.
Supported by Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Sustainable Development Fund