Canadian Forest Service Publications
Ecosystem services potential: Boreal forest case study. 2013. Malouin, C. Pages 34-38 in Human activity and the environment: Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada. Catalogue no. 16-201-x. 122 p.
Issued by: National Capital Region
Catalog ID: 35295
Availability: PDF (download)
Plain Language Summary
Ecosystem services are fundamental to human activity. Farmers, foresters, fishers, and many others harvest nature’s bounty, while others make a living transforming and selling these goods. Ecosystem services provide social and health benefits such as education or recreation opportunities, for example, walking in the woods or parks. Natural ecosystem structures and functions produce goods and services that benefit people. Ecosystems produce the air we breathe, filter the water we drink, and recycle the nutrients that allow all things to grow. Ecosystem potential is the capacity of a landscape to deliver ecosystem services independently of human use or enjoyment. This article briefly demonstrates the implementation of a rapid assessment framework using the service of water purification throughout Canada’s boreal zone. The analysis was based on 11 attributes of an ecosystem reported to have a positive or negative influence on its capacity to purify water, such as area of forest, of wetland, or of disturbance. Preliminary results of the study showed that the potential of boreal watersheds to purify water was largely intact, with 71% of the watersheds assessed experiencing no negative change in their water purification potential from 2000 to 2010.