Conservation implications of recent advances in biodiversity–functioning research

Peh, K. S-H. and Lewis, S. L. (2012) Conservation implications of recent advances in biodiversity–functioning research. Biological Conservation, 151. pp. 26-31.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to ICRISAT researchers only


Studies have shown that increasing diversity has a positive influence on many ecosystem functions and services, for example, biomass productivity. However, most diversity–functioning studies have derived their conclusions (1) from considering only random species assemblages, (2) from small spatial scales – often micro- and mesocosm experiments, (3) from studying merely a single trophic level, and (4) studies from a small number of biomes dominate. Critics argue that these studies provide little basis to evaluate the consequences for biodiversity loss in the real world. Here we re-consider the latest research focusing on each limitation in turn to highlight the possible lessons for real-world conservation from recent biodiversity– ecosystem function (BEF) research. Tentative general lessons from recent research include: (1) the need to urgently forestall human-induced extinction (i.e., non-random extinction) over large areas, in order to avert large negative functional consequences which may be more pronounced at larger scales and (2) preserve relatively intact communities because biotic interactions across the multi-trophic levels may have a synergistic contribution to the overall functioning of a system. However, considering the complexity of the community dynamics of natural systems,we recommend using natural systems – and understanding the basic physiological features and ecological roles of the species within them – because they implicitly include realistic extinction process, trophic structures and spatial–temporal scales as a useful way of increasing the relevance of future BEF studies to conservation. � 2011

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biological diversity, Ecosystem functions, Ecosystem services, Extinction, Spatial and temporal scales, Species richness, Trophic level
Author Affiliation: Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
Subjects: Agricultural Engineering
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2012 03:53
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2012 03:54
Official URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item