Humanity relies on the earth’s natural systems to regulate the environment and maintain a habitable planet. The diversity of life – biodiversity – in any given region creates ecosystems of interacting individual organisms, across many species, that collectively contribute to and support key planetary processes. For example, terrestrial and marine ecosystems remove more than half (60 per cent) of carbon emissions from the atmosphere every year, and thus play a crucial role in regulating the earth’s surface temperature. Ecosystems help buffer the impacts of adverse weather and provide resilience to climate change. The earth’s naturally occurring ecological processes sustain the quality of the air, water and soils that humanity depends on.In addition to providing basic life-enabling conditions, ecosystems are a source of many products vital for survival, including food, fuel, fibre, medicines and shelter. Together, the above processes and goods are known as ‘ecosystem services’ or ‘nature’s contributions to people’.