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Biodiversity–multifunctionality relationships depend on identity and number of measured functions


Abstract

Biodiversity ensures ecosystem functioning and provisioning of ecosystem services, but it remains unclear how biodiversity–ecosystem multifunctionality relationships depend on the identity and number of functions considered. Here, we demonstrate that ecosystem multifunctionality, based on 82 indicator variables of ecosystem functions in a grassland biodiversity experiment, increases strongly with increasing biodiversity. Analysing subsets of functions showed that the effects of biodiversity on multifunctionality were stronger when more functions were included and that the strength of the biodiversity effects depended on the identity of the functions included. Limits to multifunctionality arose from negative correlations among functions and functions that were not correlated with biodiversity. Our findings underline that the management of ecosystems for the protection of biodiversity cannot be replaced by managing for particular ecosystem functions or services and emphasize the need for specific management to protect biodiversity. More plant species from the experimental pool of 60 species contributed to functioning when more functions were considered. An individual contribution to multifunctionality could be demonstrated for only a fraction of the species.

Abstract

Biodiversity ensures ecosystem functioning and provisioning of ecosystem services, but it remains unclear how biodiversity–ecosystem multifunctionality relationships depend on the identity and number of functions considered. Here, we demonstrate that ecosystem multifunctionality, based on 82 indicator variables of ecosystem functions in a grassland biodiversity experiment, increases strongly with increasing biodiversity. Analysing subsets of functions showed that the effects of biodiversity on multifunctionality were stronger when more functions were included and that the strength of the biodiversity effects depended on the identity of the functions included. Limits to multifunctionality arose from negative correlations among functions and functions that were not correlated with biodiversity. Our findings underline that the management of ecosystems for the protection of biodiversity cannot be replaced by managing for particular ecosystem functions or services and emphasize the need for specific management to protect biodiversity. More plant species from the experimental pool of 60 species contributed to functioning when more functions were considered. An individual contribution to multifunctionality could be demonstrated for only a fraction of the species.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:16 May 2018 15:42
Last Modified:01 Jun 2018 00:03
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2397-334X
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0391-4

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