What does nature do for us?

Everything we value comes from nature.

From the places we go and the food we eat, to the popular bedtime stories we read to our children - nature touches all our lives more deeply than we realise.

We know from research across the globe that a healthy, wildlife-rich natural world is essential for our wellbeing and prosperity. Land that is managed well for wildlife and agriculture gives us nutritious food and drink, as well as beautiful places to walk, play and exercise. It also gives us a vibrant economy, clean air and water, resilience to flooding and drought, and reduces the impacts of climate change. These are all public benefits derived from ecosystem services. It is undeniable that time spent in natural spaces can, and does, significantly improve people’s lives.

What are ecosystem services?

Ecosystem services are the many and varied benefits that humans gain from the natural environment and from properly functioning ecosystems. 

The University of Reading produced four films about the four main aspects of ecosystem services. Click the links below to watch them.

Nature enhances lives - 'cultural services' explained

Nature's assets - 'natural capital' explained

Nature provides - 'provisioning services' explained

Nature regulates - 'regulating services' explained

Clean water


Access to greenspace for health and wellbeing