Regulating services

These are the benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes, including air quality regulation, climate regulation, water regulation, erosion regulation, water purification and waste treatment, disease and pest regulation, pollination and natural hazard regulation. For the Netherlands, the following regulating services have been quantified, mapped and analyzed:

Drinking water

Ecosystems contribute to the supply of drinking water in the form of natural filtration of (ground)water. Examples considered here are the filtration of supplied water in the coastal dunes, the filtration of surface water by e.g. river banks, and the filtration of precipitation feeding to shallow groundwater aquifers. The corresponding ecosystem service is estimated by relating the volume of water extracted (m3/year) to the surface area (m2) which is protected by water regulation laws.

Worldwide Carbon sequestration 

Terrestrial carbon sequestration is the storage of carbon in biomass and in soils. Carbon sequestration rates (ton C /ha /year) are mapped by combining the ecosystem unit map of the Netherlands, with a fixed sequestration rate per ecosystem type, as derived from either international standards (LULUCF) or scientific literature.


About 75% of the leading global food crops species, representing 35% of the global production volume, depend on animal pollination, especially by bees. Without animal pollination the production of these crops will be up to 90% lower. The ecosystem service of pollination by bees can only be delivered when suitable bee habitats (e.g. forests, hedgerows, natural grassland) and pollination-dependent crops (e.g. fruit and rapeseed) are in close spatial proximity. A map of pollination service, expressed as the avoided production loss, has been constructed by combining maps of potential pollination supply (based on habitat suitability) and pollination demand (based on crop types), taking these spatial factors into account.

pollination netherlands map 2018 

Air filtration

Trees and other vegetation types act to filter particulate pollution from the air. The capacity of vegetation to do so depends on foliage density and leaf form. A map of capture of particulate matter (PM 2.5, particles smaller than 2.5 m) was constructed by combining the ecosystem type map of the Netherlands with ecosystem type specific capture parameters such as leaf area index.

Protection against flooding due to heavy rainfall

Flooding due to intense precipitation may occur when rainfall intensity exceeds soil water infiltration capacity. The presence of vegetation has a positive impact on this infiltration capacity, and thus provides an ecosystem service. The magnitude of this service was estimated by comparing potential infiltration capacity for the actual vegetation, with the hypothetical case without vegetation, and taking the difference. Maps for this difference where constructed by combining maps of vegetation and land cover with maps of soil types and tables of soil physical properties.

Coastal protection

The Dutch coastal dunes protect the lower inland areas from flooding. This ecosystem service is delivered along the entire length of the coastal dunes. Monetary valuation was based on the replacement cost method; in a recent project in the Netherlands, an existing but outdated dike was supplemented with semi-natural dunes, resulting in increased coastal protection as well as the development of new semi-natural dunes and beaches.

Local climate regulation

Local climate regulation is the mitigation of the urban heat island effect by vegetation in or close to a city.