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nature’s contributions to people (ncp)


Nature's contributions to people (NCP) are all the contributions, both positive and negative, of living nature (i.e. all organisms, ecosystems, and their associated ecological and evolutionary processes) to people’s quality of life. Beneficial contributions include food provision, water purification, flood control, and artistic inspiration, whereas detrimental contributions include e.g. disease transmission and predation that damages people or their assets. NCP may be perceived as benefits or detriments depending on the cultural, temporal or spatial context (Díaz et al., 2018). IPBES considers a gradient of approaches to NCP, ranging from a purely generalizing approach to a purely context-specific one. Within the generalizing approach, IPBES identifies 18 categories of NCP, organized in three partially overlapping groups: Material contributions are substances, objects or other material elements from nature that directly sustain people’s physical existence and material assets. They are typically physically consumed in the process of being experienced, for example when organisms are transformed into food, energy, or materials for clothing, shelter or ornamental purposes. Non-material contributions are nature’s effects on subjective or psychological aspects underpinning people’s quality of life, both individually and collectively. Examples include forests and coral reefs providing opportunities for recreation and inspiration, or particular organism (animals, plants, fungi) or habitat (mountains, lakes) being the basis of spiritual or social- cohesion experiences. Regulating contributions are functional and structural aspects of organisms and ecosystems that modify environmental conditions experienced by people, and/or regulate the generation of material and non-material contributions. Regulating contributions frequently affect quality of life in indirect ways. For example, people directly enjoy useful or beautiful plants, but only indirectly the soil organisms that are essential for the supply of nutrients to such plants.