Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Ecosystem Services: Indispensable– Invaluable – Irreplaceable

Ecosystem services defines the value and impact of protecting nature and the benefits gained. There is a direct correlation with natural systems and their diverse benefits to human economies. Once we understand the impact and overall value of Ecosystem Services, we can better prioritize money and resources to protect ecosystems far into the future. When ecosystems are considered valuable they are more likely to be preserved. Today, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County preserves over 10,500 acres. This public investment goes well beyond just protecting open space, it safeguards the quality of health and wellness on multiple levels for all residents far into the future.

There are three important truths regarding ecosystem services: Natural habitats provide ecosystems benefits to people 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; people receive more ecosystem benefits when there are more natural habitats; and better quality habitats provide more ecosystem benefits than poor quality habitats.

In addition, the numerous benefits received from nature can be classified into four significant categories: Ecological Services, Economic Services, Cultural Services, and Regulating Services. These ecosystem services are important to environmental health, as well as a significant factor in human health and well-being—yet they are often taken for granted.