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
Rigorous and widely applicable indicators of biodiversity are needed to monitor the responses of ecosystems to global change and design effective conservation schemes. Among the potential indicators of biodiversity, those based on the functional traits of species and communities are interesting because they can be generalized to similar habitats and can be assessed by relatively rapid field assessment across eco-regions. Functional traits, however, have as yet been rarely considered in current common monitoring schemes. Moreover, standardized procedures of trait measurement and analyses 123Biodivers Conserv (2010) 19:2921-2947 DOI 10.1007 have almost exclusively been developed for plants but different approaches have been used for different groups of organisms. Here we review approaches using functional traits as biodiversity indicators focussing not on plants as usual but particularly on animal groups that are commonly considered in different biodiversity monitoring schemes (benthic invertebrates, collembolans, above ground insects and birds). Further, we introduce a new framework based on functional traits indices and illustrate it using case studies where the traits of these organisms can help monitoring the response of biodiversity to different land use change drivers. We propose and test standard procedures to integrate different components of functional traits into biodiversity monitoring schemes across trophic levels and disciplines. We suggest that the development of indicators using functional traits could complement, rather than replace, the existent biodiversity monitoring. In this way, the comparison of the effect of land use changes on biodiversity is facilitated and is expected to positively influence conservation management practices.
Summary 1.Trait-based approaches are increasingly being used to test mechanisms underlying species assemblages and biotic interactions across a wide range of organisms including terrestrial arthropods and to investigate consequences for ecosystem processes. Such an approach relies on the standardized measurement of functional traits that can be applied across taxa and regions. Currently, however, unified methods of trait measurements are lacking for terrestrial arthropods and related macroinvertebrates (terrestrial invertebrates hereafter). 2. Here, we present a comprehensive review and detailed protocol for a set of 29 traits known to be sensitive to global stressors and to affect ecosystem processes and services. We give recommendations how to measure these traits under standardized conditions across various terrestrial invertebrate taxonomic groups. 3. We provide considerations and approaches that apply to almost all traits described, such as the selection of species and individuals needed for the measurements, the importance of intraspecific trait variability, how many populations or communities to sample and over which spatial scales. 4. The approaches outlined here provide a means to improve the reliability and predictive power of functional traits to explain community assembly, species diversity patterns and ecosystem processes and services within and across taxa and trophic levels, allowing comparison of studies and running meta-analyses across regions and ecosystems. Ecology 2017Ecology , 31, 558-567 doi: 10.1111Ecology /1365Ecology -2435 5. This handbook is a crucial first step towards standardizing trait methodology across the most studied terrestrial invertebrate groups, and the protocols are aimed to balance general applicability and requirements for special cases or particular taxa. Therefore, we envision this handbook as a common platform to which researchers can further provide methodological input for additional special cases.
According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, common indicators are needed to monitor the loss of biodiversity and the implications for the sustainable provision of ecosystem services. However, a variety of indicators are already being used resulting in many, mostly incompatible, monitoring systems. In order to synthesise the different indicator approaches and to detect gaps in the development of common indicator systems, we examined 531 indicators that have been reported in 617 peer‐reviewed journal articles between 1997 and 2007. Special emphasis was placed on comparing indicators of biodiversity and ecosystem services across ecosystems (forests, grass‐ and shrublands, wetlands, rivers, lakes, soils and agro‐ecosystems) and spatial scales (from patch to global scale). The application of biological indicators was found most often focused on regional and finer spatial scales with few indicators applied across ecosystem types. Abiotic indicators, such as physico‐chemical parameters and measures of area and fragmentation, are most frequently used at broader (regional to continental) scales. Despite its multiple dimensions, biodiversity is usually equated with species richness only. The functional, structural and genetic components of biodiversity are poorly addressed despite their potential value across habitats and scales. Ecosystem service indicators are mostly used to estimate regulating and supporting services but generally differ between ecosystem types as they reflect ecosystem‐specific services. Despite great effort to develop indicator systems over the past decade, there is still a considerable gap in the widespread use of indicators for many of the multiple components of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and a need to develop common monitoring schemes within and across habitats. Filling these gaps is a prerequisite for linking biodiversity dynamics with ecosystem service delivery and to achieving the goals of global and sub‐global initiatives to halt the loss of biodiversity.
International audienceSpringtail communities (Hexapoda: Collembola) were sampled in the Morvan Nature Regional Park (Burgundy, France) in six land use units (LUUs) 1 km(2) each, which had been selected in order to cover a range of increasing intensity of land use. Human influence increased from LUU 1 (old deciduous forest) to LUU 6 (agricultural land mainly devoted to cereal crops), passing by planted coniferous forests (LUU 2) and variegated landscapes made of cereal crops, pastures, hay meadows, conifer plantations and small relict deciduous groves in varying proportion (LUUs 3-5). Sixteen core samples were taken inside each LUU, at intersections of a regular grid. Species composition, species richness and total abundance of collembolan communities varied according to land use and landscape properties. Land use types affected these communities through changes in the degree of opening of woody landscape (woodland opposed to grassland) and changes in humus forms (measured by the Humus Index). A decrease in species richness and total abundance was observed from old deciduous forests to cereal crops. Although the regional species richness was not affected by the intensification gradient (40-50 species were recorded in every LUU), a marked decrease in local biodiversity was observed when the variety of land use types increased. In variegated landscapes the observed collapse in local species richness was not due to a different distribution of land use types, since it affected mainly woodland areas. Results indicated the detrimental influence of the rapid afforestation of previous agricultural land, which did not afford time for the development of better adapted soil animal communities
Ecosystems are multifunctional and provide humanity with a broad array of vital services. Effective management of services requires an improved evidence base, identifying the role of ecosystems in delivering multiple services, which can assist policymakers in maintaining them. Here, information from the literature and scientific experts was used to systematically document the importance of services and identify trends in their use and status over time for the main terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems in Europe. The results from this review show that intensively managed ecosystems contribute mostly to vital provisioning services (e.g. agro-ecosystems provide food via crops and livestock, and forests provide wood), while semi-natural ecosystems (e.g. grasslands and mountains) are 123Biodivers Conserv (2010) 19:2791-2821 DOI 10.1007 key contributors of genetic resources and cultural services (e.g. aesthetic values and sense of place). The most recent European trends in human use of services show increases in demand for crops from agro-ecosystems, timber from forests, water flow regulation from rivers, wetlands and mountains, and recreation and ecotourism in most ecosystems, but decreases in livestock production, freshwater capture fisheries, wild foods and virtually all services associated with ecosystems which have considerably decreased in area (e.g. seminatural grasslands). The condition of the majority of services show either a degraded or mixed status across Europe with the exception of recent enhancements in timber production in forests and mountains, freshwater provision, water/erosion/natural hazard regulation and recreation/ecotourism in mountains, and climate regulation in forests. Key gaps in knowledge were evident for certain services across all ecosystems, including the provision of biochemicals and natural medicines, genetic resources and the regulating services of seed dispersal, pest/disease regulation and invasion resistance.
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