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Consequences of diversity loss on ecosystem functioning: Can we extrapolate to landscape scales?
Engelhardt, Katharina1, 1
ABSTRACT- Changes in land-use and global climate, and the loss of species diversity worldwide, has made the sustainability of ecosystem functioning and services an increasingly important research topic. The rapid pace of these changes have fostered energetic debates among ecologists on how best to preserve and/or restore the functioning and services provided by pristine ecosystems. Results to date suggest that biodiversity may enhance ecosystem functioning and stability of these functions. If so, continued species losses could result in the loss of ecosystem services that are vital to human societies. However, it is still not clear how to apply these results to multitude of ecosystems types within heterogeneous landscapes. A review of studies conducted in different systems (e.g., wetlands, grasslands) and at different scales (e.g., microcosms, mesocosms, and field observations) shows that the identity of species and complementarity among species are important in influencing the patterns and processes of an ecosystem. The limitations of these experimental and observational approaches when extrapolating to landscape scales, and a proposal for new directions for investigating the consequences of species loss on ecosystem functioning and services, will be presented.
KEY WORDS: biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, scale