Ecosystems provide various ecosystem services, such as:
- Nutrient cycling;
- Sustaining food and fuel production;
- Storing carbon;
- Purifying and storing water;
- Conservation of species and genetic diversity and recreation.
The way ecosystems response to global change not only affects the future provision of essential ecosystem services but also feedbacks on the global climate and water cycle. Research on ecosystems focuses among others on the effects of environmental change on biodiversity, ecosystem function and services and the role of ecosystems in the climate system and water cycle. Both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are included. Key is understanding the fundamental mechanisms regulating biodiversity and how do these translate to ecosystem functioning.