Ecosystems Services: a benefit to wildlife and people
Ecosystems provide everything plants and animals need to survive: food, water, and shelter. Generally, higher biodiversity leads to higher ecosystem functioning and can provide stability in the face of changing environmental conditions. When an ecosystem can no longer tolerate changing conditions it reaches a tipping point, marking a change in state, often to a less productive and diverse ecosystem. For example, algal blooms in marine ecosystems can cause the ecosystem to change states, hosting fewer organisms and failing to uphold ecosystem services.
Wildlife habitat can be found in your backyard, supporting a family of racoons. A microhabitat is a small area with unique conditions like the underside of a fallen log where salamanders and insects live. Wildlife habitat can also be large, spanning multiple countries such as a network of breeding, stopover, and wintering sites migratory birds use. Maintaining connectivity of patches of wildlife habitat is important to ensure wildlife can move and adapt their range to changing conditions caused by climate change.