1 Tahrcountry Musings: Determining and analyzing multiple ecosystem services across a given spatial scale

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Determining and analyzing multiple ecosystem services across a given spatial scale

Using plant functional traits to understand the landscape distribution of multiple ecosystem services

Sandra Lavorel,Karl Grigulis, Pénélope Lamarque,Marie-Pascale Colace,Denys Garden,Jacky Girel,Gilles Pellet,Rolland Douze

Journal of Ecology

Volume 99, Issue 1, pages 135–147, January 2

This paper deals with the problem of determining and analyzing multiple ecosystem services across a given spatial scale. Presently our understanding of these multiple ecosystem services leaves much to be desired. . The methodology given by the researchers will help us better comprehend the delivery of multiple ecosystem services.
The researcher say in their method spatially explicit single ES models based on plant traits and abiotic characteristics are combined to identify ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ spots of multiple ES delivery, and the land use and biotic determinants of such distributions. They demonstrate the value of this trait-based approach as compared to a pure land-use approach for a pastoral landscape from the central French Alps, and highlight how it improves understanding of ecological constraints to, and opportunities for, the delivery of multiple services.
Vegetative height and leaf traits such as leaf dry matter content were response traits strongly influenced by land use and abiotic environment, which has follow-on effects on several ecosystem properties, and this could therefore be used as functional markers of ES.

The authors’ continue like this  “Patterns of association among ES were related to the dominant traits underlying different ecosystem properties. The functional decoupling between height and leaf traits provided alternative pathways for high agronomic value, as well as determining hot and cold spots of ES. Traditional land uses such as organic fertilization and mowing or altitude summer grazing were also linked with ES hot spots, because functional characteristics supporting fodder production and quality are compatible with species and functional diversity.”
Analyses of ES using plant functional variation across landscapes are a powerful approach to understanding the fundamental ecological mechanisms underlying ES provision, and trade-offs or synergies among services. Sustainable management of species and functionally diverse grassland could simultaneously aim at conserving biodiversity and locally important ES by taking advantage of correlations and trade-offs among different plant functional traits”.

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