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Nat Commun. 2015 Dec 8;6:10122. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10122.

Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss.

Author information

1
NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 8BB, UK.
2
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 217, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AH, UK.

Abstract

The composition of species communities is changing rapidly through drivers such as habitat loss and climate change, with potentially serious consequences for the resilience of ecosystem functions on which humans depend. To assess such changes in resilience, we analyse trends in the frequency of species in Great Britain that provide key ecosystem functions--specifically decomposition, carbon sequestration, pollination, pest control and cultural values. For 4,424 species over four decades, there have been significant net declines among animal species that provide pollination, pest control and cultural values. Groups providing decomposition and carbon sequestration remain relatively stable, as fewer species are in decline and these are offset by large numbers of new arrivals into Great Britain. While there is general concern about degradation of a wide range of ecosystem functions, our results suggest actions should focus on particular functions for which there is evidence of substantial erosion of their resilience.

PMID:
26646209
PMCID:
PMC4686828
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms10122
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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