Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

High plant diversity is needed to maintain ecosystem services


Isbell, F; Calcagno, V; Hector, A; Connolly, J; Harpole, W S; Reich, P B; Scherer-Lorenzen, M; Schmid, B; Tilman, D; van Ruijven, J; Weigelt, A; Wilsey, B J; Zavaleta, E S; Loreau, M (2011). High plant diversity is needed to maintain ecosystem services. Nature, 477(7363):199-202.

Abstract

Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide, and there is consensus that this can decrease ecosystem functioning and services. It remains unclear, though, whether few or many of the species in an ecosystem are needed to sustain the provisioning of ecosystem services. It has been hypothesized that most species would promote ecosystem services if many times, places, functions and environmental changes were considered; however, no previous study has considered all of these factors together. Here we show that 84% of the 147 grassland plant species studied in 17 biodiversity experiments promoted ecosystem functioning at least once. Different species promoted ecosystem functioning during different years, at different places, for different functions and under different environmental change scenarios. Furthermore, the species needed to provide one function during multiple years were not the same as those needed to provide multiple functions within one year. Our results indicate that even more species will be needed to maintain ecosystem functioning and services than previously suggested by studies that have either (1) considered only the number of species needed to promote one function under one set of environmental conditions, or (2) separately considered the importance of biodiversity for providing ecosystem functioning across multiple years, places, functions or environmental change scenarios. Therefore, although species may appear functionally redundant when one function is considered under one set of environmental conditions, many species are needed to maintain multiple functions at multiple times and places in a changing world.

Abstract

Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide, and there is consensus that this can decrease ecosystem functioning and services. It remains unclear, though, whether few or many of the species in an ecosystem are needed to sustain the provisioning of ecosystem services. It has been hypothesized that most species would promote ecosystem services if many times, places, functions and environmental changes were considered; however, no previous study has considered all of these factors together. Here we show that 84% of the 147 grassland plant species studied in 17 biodiversity experiments promoted ecosystem functioning at least once. Different species promoted ecosystem functioning during different years, at different places, for different functions and under different environmental change scenarios. Furthermore, the species needed to provide one function during multiple years were not the same as those needed to provide multiple functions within one year. Our results indicate that even more species will be needed to maintain ecosystem functioning and services than previously suggested by studies that have either (1) considered only the number of species needed to promote one function under one set of environmental conditions, or (2) separately considered the importance of biodiversity for providing ecosystem functioning across multiple years, places, functions or environmental change scenarios. Therefore, although species may appear functionally redundant when one function is considered under one set of environmental conditions, many species are needed to maintain multiple functions at multiple times and places in a changing world.

Statistics

Citations

425 citations in Web of Science®
444 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

124 downloads since deposited on 12 Dec 2011
55 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

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:2011
Deposited On:12 Dec 2011 12:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:13
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0028-0836
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10282
PubMed ID:21832994

Download

Download PDF  'High plant diversity is needed to maintain ecosystem services'.
Preview
Content: Accepted Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 5MB
View at publisher