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:

Carbon sequestration in biomass and soil

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 percentage of 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 service

Natural pest control

Natural pest control is a complex ecosystem service, which depends on many factors, including the variability in pests itself, the different types of natural enemies, and the various ways by which pests and their enemies interact. As a representative example, a map of control of aphids were constructed by combining maps of suitable habitats for hibernation during the winter season (forest, mainly), crop areas, and the distance between these.

Erosion control

Vegetation prevents the loss of soil as a result of water erosion, especially in hilly landscapes. The ecosystem service thus delivered is mapped by comparing the estimated soil loss given the actual vegetation cover, compared to the estimated soil loss if cropland would be present.

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 (PM10, particles smaller than 10 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.