What is the Natural Environment?
The natural environment encompasses all living things and includes the land, air and water that we depend upon.
The natural environment functions through many natural mechanisms and systems, these are known as Ecosystems. Ecosystems and the services they deliver underpin our very existence. We depend on them to produce food, regulate the climate, clean the air we breathe and provide the fuel that enables us to lead the lifestyles we choose too.
The health of the natural world is critically important to support our well-being, economic prosperity and future generations. Many of the ecosystem services, such as the nutrient cycle, are ecological processes. All ecological processes are the interactions between different groups of organisms that survive on our planet. All of these living organisms, including plants and animals are more commonly understood as the ‘biodiversity’ of our planet.
The world’s biodiversity continues to decline, species are rapidly becoming extinct and habitats are becoming more fragmented. Therefore it is of great importance that we understand the relationship between biodiversity and our declining ecosystem services better.