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Chapter Five – Tradeoffs and Compatibilities Among Ecosystem Services : Biological, Physical and Economic Drivers of Multifunctionality

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Advances in Ecological Research, Volume 54, p.207 - 243 (2016)



Balancing the joint production of multiple ecosystem services, also referred to as the 鈥榤ultifunctionality鈥 of an ecosystem or landscape, requires understanding of the ecological processes that produce and economic processes that evaluate those services. Here, we review the ecological tradeoffs and compatibilities among ecosystem processes that influence ecosystem multifunctionality with respect to ecosystem services, including variation in functional strategies, constraints on community assembly and direct effects of the abiotic environment. We then review how different valuation methods may alter the magnitude of tradeoffs and compatibilities in monetary terms. Among communities, functional diversity increases ecosystem multifunctionality, but community-average trait values are emerging as important drivers of ecosystem services with greater potential to produce tradeoffs when compared to functional diversity. However, research that links organismal functional strategies to community assembly rules in real, heterogeneous landscapes demonstrate that predictable tradeoffs among species do not consistently scale up to the community level, necessitating further research on trait-based community assembly in order to develop general predictive models of biotic effects on ecosystem multifunctionality. Abiotic factors are frequently incorporated into mapping assessments of multifunctionality, but the emergent tradeoffs and compatibilities in ecosystem services driven by those factors are rarely assessed, despite a number of studies that have demonstrated their clear importance in ecosystem multifunctionality. Finally, while a variety of valuation methods are used to quantify the joint production of ecosystem services, only provisioning services are typically directly valued and assumed to have fixed correlations with other ecosystem services that can lead to inaccurate valuation, and potentially inappropriate prioritisation, of multiple ecosystem services.

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