The global ecosystem is changing due to human and natural causes, and only the human aspects of this interaction are within our control. This paper provides a critical analysis of the interactions between humans and the ecosystem in terms of the human consumption of ecosystem services to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. It starts by reviewing human consumption of ecosystem services, and then develops a conceptual framework that links ecosystem services with consumption of these services and ecosystem management to construct a general functional model of the factors that affect the consumption of ecosystem services. A case study is introduced to show how the model can be used to provide specific assessments of patterns of direct human consumption of ecosystem services in China's Jinghe watershed.
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