The relationship between biodiversity and individual ecosystem processes is often asymptotic, saturating at relatively low levels, with some species contributing more strongly than others. This has cast doubt on arguments for conservation based on maintenance of the functioning of ecosystems. However, we argue that the link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is an important additional argument for conservation for several reasons. (1) Although species differ in importance to ecosystem processes, we do not believe that this argues for preservation of just a few species for two reasons: first, it is nearly impossible to identify all species important to the numerous systems and processes on which humans depend; second, the important species themselves may depend on an unknown number of other species in their communities. (2) Arguments for conservation based on ecosystem functioning are complementary to other utilitarian, ethical and aesthetic justifications. No single reason will convince all people or protect all species, however the combination produces a strong case for conservation of biodiversity. (3) Even if the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is asymptotic at local spatial scales and in the short term, effects of biodiversity loss are likely to be important at larger temporal and spatial scales. (4) Initial arguments for the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning were largely based on a precautionary approach (points 1–3). However, we are now moving to a scientific position based on accumulating experimental evidence. The future challenge is the integration of this scientific research with policy.
Oecologia – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 1, 2001
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera