Ecosystem functions
Ecosystem goods
Ecosystem services
Ecosystem degradation
Ecosystem risks
About Us » Study Area » Ecosystems

Ecosystem Functions, Goods, and Services (EFG&S)

All the ways that humans recognize value in ecosystems are collectively described as ecosystem functions, goods, and services.

Ecosystem Functions

A phenomena in an ecosystem that results from the interaction of the structures and processes of that ecosystem (e.g. an animal acquiring food, flood stage changing slowly, a beach remains cool on a sunny day). 

Ecosystem Goods

Tangible products that are extracted from the ecosystem that have economic or cultural value to our societies (e.g. fish, seaweeds, shellfish).

Ecosystem Services

Ways that ecosystems provide amenities to our societies that are not in the form of an extractable product (e.g. the provision of animal habitats, clean water, recreational settings, psychological or cultural well-being, storm protection).


The relative historical potential of a site to provide ecosystem services based on historic size and complexity of a site.


A kind of change to ecosystem processes or structures where modification of the nearshore landscape reduces the quantity or diversity of historical EFG&S.  The historical ecosystem thus, serves as a baseline for evaluating the current ecosystem condition.  Degradation of the historical state is estimated by the presence and intensity of stressors and landform change.


Site conditions with the potential to compromise restoration efficiency or effectiveness.

Past and
Ongoing Threats

Many threats to the health of the Puget Sound nearshore result from past activities, such as diking of river deltas to create agricultural lands. While other threats such as shoreline armoring, continue to occur today.

Restoration and protection activities will help restore Puget Sound, but until we have other tools in place to limit or stop continued threats, we cannot be fully successful.

A Geomorphic Classification of Puget Sound Nearshore Landforms

Strategic Needs Assessment:  Analysis of Nearshore Ecosystem Process Degradation in Puget Sound

Strategic Needs Assessment: Analysis of Nearshore Ecosystem Process Degradation in Puget Sound

(PDF, 30 MB)

Historical Change and Impairment of Puget Sound Shorelines

Historical Change and Impairment of Puget Sound Shorelines

(PDF, 33 MB)

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Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project
Updated July 2016