Plant Diversity and Its Relevance for the Provision of Ecosystem Services

  • Jürgen Homeier
  • Florian A. Werner
  • Julia Gawlik
  • Thorsten Peters
  • Karl-Heinz J. Diertl
  • Michael Richter
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 221)


This chapter summarizes how plant species composition and richness in the Andean montane forests of southern Ecuador are driven by environmental heterogeneity. Natural vegetation dynamics of these highly diverse forests is dramatically affected by the current human land use practices with the consequence of an immense loss of species richness that most likely results in a drastic deterioration of ecosystem services on the landscape level. Basic knowledge about ecosystem functioning is still scarce for the region, and the study of plant functional traits should receive increasing attention, since these traits are the main attribute by which plants influence ecosystem functioning and thus ecosystem services.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Homeier
    • 1
  • Florian A. Werner
    • 2
  • Julia Gawlik
    • 3
  • Thorsten Peters
    • 3
  • Karl-Heinz J. Diertl
    • 3
  • Michael Richter
    • 3
  1. 1.Albrecht von Haller Institute of Plant SciencesUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biology and Environmental SciencesUniversity of OldenburgOldenburgGermany
  3. 3.Institute of GeographyUniversity of ErlangenErlangenGermany

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