In a densely populated country such as the Netherlands, nature areas are precious. For decades, human activities have caused the extent and the quality of nature to decline. Recently, however, there are signs of careful recovery.
Nature provides us with a variety of goods and services. Some are obvious, such as the wood and food production, while others are often less visible, such as the purification of surface water through marshes and wetlands, and the control of pests in agriculture by using their natural enemies. These services are referred to as ecosystem services.
Landscapes are formed by the unique interaction between humans and nature. Today’s landscapes in the Netherlands are largely human-made. For instance, bogs, marshes and dunes were drained and subsequently cultivated, land was reclaimed from the sea, and artificial waterways were constructed.