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Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems www.rubicode.net Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems (RUBICODE)

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Presentation on theme: "Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems www.rubicode.net Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems (RUBICODE)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems (RUBICODE) Quantifying the contribution of organisms to the provision of ecosystem services For further information contact Gary Luck ( Funded under the European Commission Sixth Framework Programme Contract Number:

2 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Service-providing unit (SPU) The collection of organisms and their characteristics necessary to deliver a given ecosystem service at the level required by service beneficiaries.

3 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Loss of biodiversity is commonly characterised by species extinction rates. Substantial change to ecosystems and the status of biodiversity occurs prior to species extinction. Populations could be considered a fundamental unit of measure. The relationship between biodiversity and human wellbeing is primarily a function of populations of species.

4 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems A taxonomy of populations Evolutionary units - populations with independent evolutionary dynamics. Demographic units - populations with independent demographic dynamics (e.g. fluctuate in size asynchronously). Conservation units - depend on the associated conservation goals and may be formalized through concepts like MVPs and ESUs. SPUs - defined by the service it provides to humanity, and the temporal and spatial extent of that service.

5 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Service-providing unit (SPU) The collection of organisms and their characteristics necessary to deliver a given ecosystem service at the level required by service beneficiaries. Need to know The sections of society that need/use the service. The level at which it is required. The organisms that provide the service (ecosystem service provider – ESP). The characteristics of these organisms required to provide the service at the desired level (SPU).

6 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Pest control in apple orchards Mols & Visser J. Appl. Ecol. 39, Mols & Visser PLoS One 2(2), e202. SPU = Density of Parus major breeding pairs within the orchard that provide the service at the required level. 1-6 pairs/ha reduce caterpillar damage by up to 50%.

7 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems { Conceptual framework Quantify the ecosystem service demand: determine the net level of demand/need for the service Quantify the service-providing unit (SPU): determine the characteristics of organisms necessary for service provision quantify the relationships between SPUs and service supply quantify the components of biodiversity that support the SPU Identify and value potential alternatives for providing the service Evaluate options: compare valuations and examine trade-offs determine implications for biodiversity conservation determine implications for policy and sustainable livelihoods Define the ecosystem service: identify the ecosystem service beneficiaries identify the spatio-temporal scale of service delivery identify the ecosystem service providers (ESPs) 1. IDENTIFICATION 2. QUANTIFICATION { Value the service as provided by the SPU 3. APPRAISAL {

8 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Seed dispersal in urban park ctmsu.sytes.net Need defined by: Cultural, recreational and biodiversity value of park. Eurasian Jay primary facilitator of acorn germination. Estimate replacement cost of seed dispersal service. SPU = A minimum of 12 resident pairs of Eurasian Jay present each year for 14 years. Hougner, C. et al Ecol. Econ. 59,

9 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Service provision by functional groups The ESP approach: A species contribution to an aggregate service is defined by its effectiveness at performing the service and organism abundance. Changes in aggregate service result from changes in ESPs. The SPU approach: Argues for the need to understand more explicitly how characteristics manifested at the functional-group level (e.g. group composition) and for each member organism (e.g. population dynamics) impact on service provision.

10 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Pollination of watermelon Kremen, C. et al PNAS 99, Kremen, C. et al Ecol. Lett. 7, Up to 30 native bees pollinate watermelon. Contribution to pollination varies across years and within and among crops. Diversity of native bee community essential as the most functionally important species can vary across time and space. SPU = The composition of the functional group, the functional traits of each member, the population characteristics of each member, and appropriate spatial and temporal dynamics to deliver the service at the desired level.

11 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Manage service delivery by protecting habitat that supports native bees. About 40% cover within 2.4km should provide entire pollination service. 2.4km Native vegetation (~ 40%) watermelon crop

12 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Quantified four factors that may influence water regulation: soil type; slope angle; vegetation type; and the area of each vegetation type. This resulted in 90 categories of vegetation–soil–slope complexes, with water flow regulation differing substantially among complexes. SPU = The area of a given vegetation type occurring on a particular soil type at a particular slope angle required to provide the service to the level needed by service beneficiaries. Guo et al. (2000) Ecol. Appl. 10, Water regulation by forests grail.cs.washington.edu na.unep.net

13 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Summary Ecosystem service Single speciesMultiple species Seed dispersal Population Characteristics Density, genetics, temporal and spatial dynamics Functional group Characteristics Composition, traits, population characteristics Community Characteristics Type, area, location Water regulation

14 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems SPU – service relationships Key phrase = deliver a given ecosystem service at the level required by service beneficiaries –Focuses attention on quantifying the contribution made by organisms to service delivery in relation to the needs of beneficiaries. –Avoids undue attention on organisms making insubstantial contributions (i.e. it identifies the key service providers). –Implies that if a collection of organisms are not contributing to service provision at the desired level they do not constitute an SPU (i.e. a threshold level of service delivery).

15 SPU – service relationships d Service provider dynamics Native species Exotic species Human alternative

16 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Species interactions Perfecto & Vandermeer Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 117, Greenleaf & Kremen PNAS 103, Collen & Gibson Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 10,

17 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Coping with ecosystem dynamics When multiple species contribute to the same service, the stability of service provision should be buffered against fluctuations in the populations of the species comprising the effect functional group. –Assumes diversity of responses within functional group –Assumes quantitatively similar contributions to service provision –Implies functional replacement among species Increased biodiversity is expected to secure continuation of ecosystem processes despite environmental variability. A major problem in predicting the impacts of environmental changes on ecosystem services is the individualistic responses of service-providing organisms. Functional groups and biodiversity:

18 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Coping with ecosystem dynamics Populations of key species: Ensure life-history, population and genetic traits are appropriate to cope with likely changes in the environment. Analogous to the MVP concept. Must consider factors such as resilience to environmental variation, probability of persistence under future management scenarios, degrees of uncertainty and acceptable levels of risk for loss of the service.

19 Conceptual model + Positive interaction - Negative interaction

20 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Conclusions Link organisms and their characteristics to service provision via the needs of beneficiaries. Exist at various organisational levels. Could be considered a threshold measure, but understanding incremental changes might still be important. SPUs:

21 Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems Conclusions Species interactions are important for service provision. Must consider ecosystem dynamics when managing for the persistence of SPUs and the continued supply of ecosystem services. Ecological complexity + socio-economic complexity necessitates general approaches and assumptions.


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