Water, food, and medical resources are some of the many raw materials that people get directly from different ecosystems. Many of the services in this group contribute to the existence of exactly the products represented on the market and traded. In addition, in many rural areas, rural households directly dependon services, which provide them with resources for living. These ecosystem services have a direct impact on the sustainability of many rural communities.
Practically all ecosystems provide conditions for growing and collecting food, as well as hunting and fishing. Of all ecosystem services, food production is the only one that shows a constant trend of growth in recent history. Nevertheless, it is now acknowledged that profits in agricultural production and productivity are often accompanied by negative effects on the natural resource base that provides us with ecosystem services, including food. Further degradation of ecosystems as a resource base for agriculture is endangering food production potential in the future.
No water, no life. Ecosystems play a vital role in ensuring the flow of water and storage of fresh water. Bodies that do not have high salt content are called freshwater ecosystems and include lakes, rivers, and streams. On the global level, fresh water is mostly found in thefrozen state in the form of glaciers or as soil moisture. Fresh water is not only important for the survival of people, but also for the survival of all existing species of animals and plants. Cereals, for example, largely depend on water. This is supported by the fact that almost 60% of all groundwater in the world is used to irrigate agricultural systems in which cereals are grown.
Many natural ecosystems grow different types of plants and fungi that provide medicines for many health problems. Many species are used in modern and traditional medicine as well as in pharmaceutical industry. Everywhere in the world (both in developing and developed countries) there is an increasing interest in medicinal and aromatic (spice) herbs related to their use, cultivation, conservation and sustainable use. Large grassy areas such as meadows and pastures represent a habitat for many types of medicinal and spice plants. Excessive use or abandonment of these natural ecosystems leads to the loss of many natural remedies.