Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 2873–2893

Towards an assessment of multiple ecosystem processes and services via functional traits

Authors

    • Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553Université Joseph Fourier
  • Sandra Lavorel
    • Laboratoire d’Ecologie Alpine, UMR CNRS 5553Université Joseph Fourier
  • Sandra Díaz
    • MBIV (CONICET-UNC) and FCEFyN, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
  • Richard Harrington
    • Department of Plant and Invertebrate EcologyRothamsted Research
  • Johannes H. C. Cornelissen
    • Institute of Ecological Science, Faculty of Earth and Life SciencesVU University Amsterdam
  • Richard D. Bardgett
    • Institute of Environmental and Natural Sciences, Soil and Ecosystem EcologyLancaster University
  • Matty P. Berg
    • Institute of Ecological Science, Faculty of Earth and Life SciencesVU University Amsterdam
  • Pablo Cipriotti
    • Cátedra de Métodos Cuantitativos Aplicados, Facultad de AgronomíaUniversidad de Buenos Aires
  • Christian K. Feld
    • Applied Zoology/Hydrobiology, Faculty of Biology and GeographyUniversity of Duisburg-Essen
  • Daniel Hering
    • Applied Zoology/Hydrobiology, Faculty of Biology and GeographyUniversity of Duisburg-Essen
  • Pedro Martins da Silva
    • IMAR-CIC, Department of ZoologyUniversity of Coimbra
  • Simon G. Potts
    • Centre for Agri-Environmental ResearchUniversity of Reading
  • Leonard Sandin
    • Department of Environmental AssessmentSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Jose Paulo Sousa
    • IMAR-CIC, Department of ZoologyUniversity of Coimbra
  • Jonathan Storkey
    • Department of Plant and Invertebrate EcologyRothamsted Research
  • David A. Wardle
    • Department of Forest Ecology and ManagementSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Paula A. Harrison
    • Environmental Change InstituteOxford University Centre for the Environment
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-010-9850-9

Cite this article as:
de Bello, F., Lavorel, S., Díaz, S. et al. Biodivers Conserv (2010) 19: 2873. doi:10.1007/s10531-010-9850-9

Abstract

Managing ecosystems to ensure the provision of multiple ecosystem services is a key challenge for applied ecology. Functional traits are receiving increasing attention as the main ecological attributes by which different organisms and biological communities influence ecosystem services through their effects on underlying ecosystem processes. Here we synthesize concepts and empirical evidence on linkages between functional traits and ecosystem services across different trophic levels. Most of the 247 studies reviewed considered plants and soil invertebrates, but quantitative trait–service associations have been documented for a range of organisms and ecosystems, illustrating the wide applicability of the trait approach. Within each trophic level, specific processes are affected by a combination of traits while particular key traits are simultaneously involved in the control of multiple processes. These multiple associations between traits and ecosystem processes can help to identify predictable trait–service clusters that depend on several trophic levels, such as clusters of traits of plants and soil organisms that underlie nutrient cycling, herbivory, and fodder and fibre production. We propose that the assessment of trait–service clusters will represent a crucial step in ecosystem service monitoring and in balancing the delivery of multiple, and sometimes conflicting, services in ecosystem management.

Keywords

Ecosystem functioning Functional diversity Indicators Multitrophic communities Plant, animal and microbial biodiversity

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010