, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 31–37 | Cite as

Research Frontiers in Ecosystem Service Science

20th Anniversary Paper


How are ecosystem services conceptualized, analyzed, and forecast into the future? How can ecosystem service science be advanced to improve environmental decision-making at all scales? In this paper, I focus on three critical challenges in ecosystem service science that must be addressed to better understand, forecast, and manage ecosystem services. These include (1) understanding the role of nonlinearities, feedbacks, and legacies in the sustainable and resilient provision of ecosystem services; (2) understanding the role and interplay of ecological and social components in the provision of ecosystem services; and (3) employing stakeholder knowledge in co-designing research that better addresses decision-makers’ most pressing questions. Addressing these three challenges will advance ecosystem science and improve the use of ecosystem services in understanding and managing ecosystems.


ecosystem services research frontiers interdisciplinary science systems ecology co-design social–ecological systems 



Dr. Bennett is supported by an E.W.R. Steacie Fellowship and a Discovery Grant (RGPIN 327077) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. She thanks her lab group, including the past and present members, for many hours of productive, fascinating, and fun conversation about ecosystem services and ES science that has led to some of the ideas presented in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resource Sciences and McGill School of EnvironmentMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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