biodiversity-buttonWe sometimes have a tendency to think of ecosystems as providing habitat for wildlife and plants, but with little or no connection to cities and communities. However, ecosystems provide a variety of ecological goods and services that have benefits for everyone. Ecosystem services can be broken into four main categories:

• Provisioning services are those services that provide a direct material output such as food, raw materials, fresh water, and medicines.
• Regulating services are those services that act as a regulating or mitigating force on our environment. Examples include air and water filtration, carbon sequestration, pollination, and flooding and erosion controls.
• Supporting services are the services we typically think of, including providing habitat for plants and animals and protecting genetic diversity.
• Cultural services are those services that we gain from our enjoyment of nature such as recreation, mental health, tourism and spiritual connections.

Because ecosystems benefit our communities, it is possible to determine an economic value for these services. Although ecosystems are not always front of mind, ecological goods and services highlight the importance that biodiversity and ecosystems have for our communities.

 

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Recommendations:

1. That inventory work for wetlands be ground truthed
to confirm extent and condition and that inventories be repeated regularly.
2. That restoration and/or planting of native species be considered for riparian areas along the Oldman River.
3. That inventory work for grasslands be ground truthed to confirm extent and condition and that inventories be repeated regularly.
4. That invasive plant species in the City be inventoried and mapped and a management plan be adopted.
5. That the River Valley Master Plan be adopted and implemented.
6. That species-at-risk and their available habitat be inventoried within the City.
7. That ecological communities be inventoried within the City.
8. That the City of Lethbridge proactively seek opportunities to expand Lethbridge’s urban forest.
9. That Lethbridge’s Urban Forestry Plan be updated.
9. That bee-friendly plants be considered for use in City Parks and that local residents be encouraged to plant them as well.

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