You are on page 1of 79

For further information

:

Ecosystem services and biodiversity in Europe
EASAC Secretariat
The Royal Society
6 –9 Carlton House Terrace
London SWIY 5AG
tel +44 (0)20 7451 2697
fax +44 (0)20 7925 2620
email easac@royalsociety.org

Ecosystem services and biodiversity in Europe

February 2009

EASAC policy report 09

February 2009

ISBN: 978-0-85403-738-4
EASAC

RS1163
This report can be found at building science into policy
Printed by Latimer Trend & Co Ltd, Plymouth, UK www.easac.eu at EU level

EASAC

EASAC – the European Academies Science Advisory Council – is formed by the national science academies of the EU
Member States to enable them to collaborate with each other in providing advice to European policy-makers. It thus
provides a means for the collective voice of European science to be heard.

Its mission reflects the view of academies that science is central to many aspects of modern life and that an appreciation
of the scientific dimension is a pre-requisite to wise policy-making. This view already underpins the work of many
academies at national level. With the growing importance of the European Union as an arena for policy, academies
recognise that the scope of their advisory functions needs to extend beyond the national to cover also the European
level. Here it is often the case that a trans-European grouping can be more effective than a body from a single country.
The academies of Europe have therefore formed EASAC so that they can speak with a common voice with the goal of
building science into policy at EU level.

Through EASAC, the academies work together to provide independent, expert, evidence-based advice about the
scientific aspects of public policy to those who make or influence policy within the European institutions. Drawing on the
memberships and networks of the academies, EASAC accesses the best of European science in carrying out its work. Its
views are vigorously independent of commercial or political bias, and it is open and transparent in its processes. EASAC
aims to deliver advice that is comprehensible, relevant and timely.

EASAC covers all scientific and technical disciplines, and its experts are drawn from all the countries of the European
Union. It is funded by the member academies and by contracts with interested bodies. The expert members of project
groups give their time free of charge. EASAC has no commercial or business sponsors.

EASAC’s activities include substantive studies of the scientific aspects of policy issues, reviews and advice about policy
documents, workshops aimed at identifying current scientific thinking about major policy issues or at briefing policy-
makers, and short, timely statements on topical subjects.

The EASAC Council has 26 individual members – highly experienced scientists nominated one each by the national
science academies of every EU Member State that has one, the Academia Europaea and ALLEA. It is supported by a
professional secretariat based at the Royal Society in London. The Council agrees the initiation of projects, appoints
members of project groups, reviews drafts and approves reports for publication.

To find out more about EASAC, visit the website – www.easac.eu – or contact EASAC Secretariat
[e-mail: easac@royalsociety.org; tel +44 (0)20 7451 2697].

Ecosystem services and biodiversity in Europe

no part of this publication may be reproduced. or in accordance with the terms of licenses issued by the appropriate reproduction rights organisation outside the UK. as permitted under the UK Copyright. or. or criticism or review. Designs and Patents Act (1998). UK ii | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . Cardiff. in the case of reprographic reproduction.ISBN 978 0 85403 738 4 © The Royal Society 2009 Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study. in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK. without the prior permission in writing of the publisher. stored or transmitted in any form or by any means. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the terms stated here should be sent to: EASAC Secretariat The Royal Society 6 –9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG tel: +44 (0)20 7451 2697 fax: +44 (0)20 7925 2620 email: easac@royalsociety.org Typeset in Frutiger by The Clyvedon Press Ltd.

3 Land use and multiple services 9 3 European biodiversity and ecosystem services 11 3.3 Methods of valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services 20 4.1 Introduction: the current policy and management framework 25 5.2 Is what is known about this topic sufficient for progress in making policy on European biodiversity? 26 5.4 Prioritising ecosystem services in land management: weighing up alternative land uses 23 5 Policy options and recommendations 25 5.2 What is the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services? 8 2.1 Biodiversity and ecosystem services: why this topic matters now 3 1.2 An assessment of ecosystem services and biodiversity in Europe 11 3.1 What are ecosystem services? 7 2.Contents page Foreword v Summary 1 1 Introduction 3 1.3 Recommendations: what is it sensible to do now? 27 References 29 Annex 1 Assessment of the current state of knowledge about European biodiversity and ecosystem services 33 Annex 2 Previous EASAC work on biodiversity 67 Annex 3 Working Group members and expert consultation 69 EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | iii . and consequences for ecosystem services in the European Union 20 4.1 How ecosystems respond to change 19 4.3 Methods 5 2 Ecosystem services and biodiversity 7 2.2 The current study 4 1.2 Threats to biodiversity.4 The role of European biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem services 16 4 Managing ecosystem services in Europe 19 4.1 Patterns of European biodiversity 11 3.3 The significance of ecosystem services in a European context 16 3.

iv | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

Europe’s biodiversity. we become most aware of them as they fail. On behalf of EASAC. EASAC will continue to work on the evidence base The European Commission has set an aim of halting the for action on ecosystem services and biodiversity. There are fears that this Europe. it is my pleasure to Europe’s society on an unsustainable trajectory. to wildlife may place at risk other important services. creates a powerful of soil and the purification and management of water. EASAC EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | v . believe that this approach can be combined effectively invasive species are wreaking havoc on native fauna and with existing measures. at the least. The consequence of these human impacts is that we This report was prepared by an EASAC Working Group are living through a period in which ecosystems are led by Alastair Fitter of the Royal Society. We have therefore suggested has produced pollution that now threatens the world’s that there should be a specific duty placed on Europe’s climate. the health managing land primarily to deliver one service will reduce of the ecosystems that provide services to us has become its capacity to deliver other and equally valuable services. At the same time. such over the past 50 years the pressure on natural systems as pollination and nutrient cycling. but we highlight the specific need flora worldwide and the effects of climate change are to ensure the continued delivery of services from Europe’s beginning to make themselves felt. that industrial society is placing on their delivery. London. The link between biodiversity and the delivery materials. without the recognition of the strong link between biodiversity and the sustainability of Professor Volker ter Meulen Europe’s economy and society. a matter of intense scrutiny. increasing and the many experts whose contributions were so dependence on imported foods and higher risk from valuable in preparing this report. which we believe other. what is known about the Sadly. have contributed to the work. most recently through the This trade-off is particularly important for farming systems. particularly in the current economic by nature in the form of provisions: food. when soil loses its fertility or the failure of pollinators Our aim is that the report will add to the case for urgent affects agricultural production. in Europe and. Although human intervention plays a role. fuel and climate. In addition to direct human impacts on species. The human use of natural resources has grown We regard the continued delivery of ecosystem services dramatically. Many being degraded and biodiversity is being lost at rates members of the scientific community. members of the Working Group of ecosystem services will mean. Failure thank Professor Fitter. However. These processes work continuously and level and sets the framework for this study. These are immediately obvious but there are of a balance of ecosystem services. We loss of biodiversity by 2010. crucially. the provision of most of these benefits from nature is the result of interactions between The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment gives an overview many species and depends on the working of whole of the state of these ecosystem services at a global ecosystems. land has come under intensive farming or to be one of the most important challenges facing has been taken for towns and cities. and it has been will have significant consequences for the flow of the independently reviewed and approved for publication by services nature provides. action at a European level to institute a regime of active management for ecosystem services as a whole and to These benefits are known collectively as ecosystem halt the loss of biodiversity. purpose for measures to prevent further deterioration in for example. diseases and flooding. We rates. ecosystems. We believe that this places EASAC Council. has been intense and unprecedented in the history of the world. benefits from nature: the formation we have substantiated in this report. notably through farming. less obvious. where the intensive use of fertilisers and pesticides may well deliver high levels of food provision but the damage As the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment makes clear. This report unnoticed but are highly effective and have provided provides a review of the state of ecosystem services sufficient stability for the development of human society. UN-sponsored Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Species are that there should be a new Directive to ensure this is done being lost at a rate far higher than natural extinction systematically and to uniform European standards. services and we depend for our survival on a wide range of them. we believe that this will be Chairman.Foreword Humankind depends absolutely on what can be delivered difficult to achieve. there is a crisis affecting many governments to manage ecosystem services actively and of the organisms that make up ecosystems. although dependence and more conscious of the severe pressures European ecosystems can give a wide range of services. This is an ambitious aim and welcome comments on this report. As we have become more aware of our One of the key messages of this report is that. within and outside not seen in human history. we applaud it. and industrialisation Europe’s institutions. as contribution biodiversity makes to maintaining them.

vi | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

fungicides and pesticides managing an ecosystem primarily to deliver one service to maintain productivity. Why do they matter for Europe? and loss of species-rich lowland grasslands and wetlands has reduced biodiversity in many parts of Europe. materials for building and clothing. current declines in effects of pollution. production services. which maintain the environment long-term storage of carbon. and in many cases impossible. Their continued that safeguard human well-being and the integrity of the good health cannot be taken for granted. including the climate change. social and economic development of human societies They are considered in this report because the citizens on Earth. the cycling of water and of basic • Although the global climate depends on many nutrients. services. fuels and materials. or high biodiversity. and plants for to replace. recognising that people. pollinating insects place at risk a service that would • Provisioning services. most notably • Many crops and most wild plant species require the maintaining a healthy climate and mitigating the service of pollination by insects. be hugely expensive. Other services. water. with implications for climate regulation. in a fit condition for human habitation. Though many are hidden. providing food. Soil carbon stores have declined. One prominent current example of this is the use of land in particular those associated with complex ecosystems to produce biofuels. though less crucial in a European context. Similarly. but also such hidden benefits as the formation of soils and the control and purification of water. forests and peatlands play a critical role in ensuring • Regulating services.Summary What are ecosystem services? • Europe will increasingly rely on the cycling of nutrients in soils for maintaining high levels of Ecosystem services are the benefits humankind derives productivity in both agricultural and non-agricultural from the workings of the natural world. energy. and the natural environment. This process has prioritised will almost certainly reduce its ability to provide others. with ecosystems deliver a broad range of services. in particular in securing the continued availability and regulated supply of clean • Supporting services. the trend over the past century has been towards urbanisation and more intensive agriculture. to the extent that other key services. economy and society. which provide the basic water against the backdrop of rapid urbanisation and infrastructure for life on Earth. have suffered. the services provided by Europe’s northern the other services. also play an important part in Europe’s current prosperity Taken together. medicines. These include ecosystems as the cost and availability of fertilisers in most obviously the supply of food. and primary production of materials for all factors. own ability to produce food as the global price urban and other environments heavily influenced by of food increases and imports from outside the humans deliver a very restricted range of ecosystem European Union (EU) become less affordable. their workings are of Europe also have a global responsibility to act in ways now a matter of clear scientific record. One of the key insights from this work is that all Large areas have been devoted to monocultures. In Europe. formation of soils. not solely at a global level but What is their current status in Europe? also for the different institutions of the European Union. • Europe’s communities place a high value on nature • Cultural services. The Some of these ecosystem services are crucial for Europe’s long-term consequences of this are likely to be severe. these services are crucial to survival and and in ensuring sustainable development in the future. and that increasing use of fertilisers. agriculture increases. Europe’s governing institutions have to address EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 1 . Ecosystem services • The environment plays the key role in managing are usually divided into categories: water for Europe. Sustaining production levels without recourse to natural processes for nutrient cycling and disease and pest • Europe is likely to become more dependent on its regulation will be increasingly difficult and costly. and on the possibility of enjoying natural places for communities and societies place value (including leisure activities. process of monitoring them and of ensuring that human activity does not place them at risk is an essential part of environmental governance. economic value) on nature and the environment for their own sake or simply find pleasure in them.

decisions on the use and key species or groups of species that perform particular management of natural resources. increasingly recognised in policy development and in Small-scale experiments can often explain why the decisions on individual projects. uses with use associated. For example. to In order to regulate the optimisation of ecosystem services ensure that there is at the very least a narrative of what and to protect the role of biodiversity in forming and is at stake in decisions affecting them. It could also set priorities by defining and widely accepted ways of placing an actual monetary the ‘key ecosystem services of Community interest’ and value on features of the natural environment. These have developed rapidly in ecosystem services. with nutrient cycling. a value for a wetland or a forested catchment can be 2 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . we propose a new European Directive. There are now many different services in Europe. multi-criteria The delivery of ecosystem services depends in many analysis is a structured approach for assessing alternative cases on the maintenance of biodiversity. such as decomposition which is central to nutrient What steps are needed to manage ecosystem cycling. For example. A new directive of this kind could be recent years in response to policy-makers’ requirements expected to establish the strategy of conservation and for analysis of costs and benefits of a wide range of management of important ecosystem functions and development projects. More powerful maintaining them. avoided through the service it provides in purifying water. In addition to these quantitative approaches. for example options that allow the attainment of defined objectives for nutrient cycling. with a broad scope and a specific focus on valuation methods. including land and ecological functions play the major role in delivering water bodies. production under low-input or the implementation of policy goals in which scoring. and biodiversity? there are formal qualitative methods for setting priorities for the use of ecosystems. means of ensuring that the value of ecosystem services building on current legislation. for example. It is likely that To manage ecosystem services. This will mean balancing productive ensure their presence and activity in an ecosystem. using the ‘key service providing units (species and ecosystems) of framework of ecosystem services as a basis. number of species in an ecosystem can determine the rate of the processes that underlie ecosystem services. in many instances ranking and weighting are used. management and pollination. have to take account of the full suite of services. water cycling (which may require permanent vegetation cover) How can we place value on these services? and management regimes that conserve and enhance biodiversity. However. and maintaining biodiversity is a sure way to ecosystem services.the balance between ecosystem services as a matter of calculated from the health or water treatment costs high priority. to protect ecosystems is recognised in decision-making include economic and wildlife. which may require reduced cultivation. These services cannot be valued unless they are effectively described and properly recognised in decision-making. However. In many cases the value of a threatened ecosystem greatly outweighs the development value of the project that What is the link between ecosystem services threatens it. Community interest’. Both quantitative and we do not well understand the mechanism by which qualitative methods have been widely applied and are biodiversity enhances the delivery of ecosystem services. our knowledge of how these processes services now and in the future? work together on the scale of a landscape to produce ecosystem services on that scale is limited.

pollution. the free rare and have local distributions. For example. and ecologists are concerned recently become a major focus of research. This and New Zealand. society. pollution will rarely areas where pollination is needed. 2006). On many islands. and between a quarter and a half of all primary include the provision of food. Europe has very large cultural services like recreation. clean water. probably in the hundreds of thousands. biological resources for energy and industrial (Rojstaczer et al. Some of these are both of groups which may be equally (or more) vulnerable. such as Hawai’i www. major economic significance and essential to the survival Human use of natural resources has grown substantially of human societies. The principal example service of pollination by insects has had to be replaced by of global-scale pollution is the rapidly increasing the labour-intensive service of human hand pollination. 23% of natural world to human society. 2001). in this period. for example by the role played by insects. Costanza et al. 12% of bird species. but many ancient with their environment: this complex of relationships introductions are now accepted members of the fauna between organisms and environment is known as the and flora of Europe. all of fundamental earnest.1 Introduction 1. Since agriculture began in processes. especially bees.1 Biodiversity and ecosystem services: These large-scale changes in the biological components why this topic matters now of the planet will be viewed as inherently undesirable by many and will certainly alter the appearance of many The past 50 years have seen an unprecedented human areas. There is an industry eutrophication and allowing species capable of a in many intensively farmed parts of the world in moving vigorous growth response to nitrogen to outcompete hives and their resident honey-bees to orchards and other slower-growing species. the area of forest has value to human societies and irreplaceable by artificial been halved. The broader consequences of large-scale losses impact on natural systems (Vitousek et al. it or rendering it harmless. However. in Maoxian County of Sichuan. China. Roughly half of useable terrestrial land is now devoted to grazing livestock or growing crops. However. some are known to The services are provided by living organisms interacting threaten indigenous biodiversity. and data sense and for recreation. to biodiversity include the introduction of grouped the services into four categories: supporting. are part of a larger system into account the tolerance of species to climatic factors of interdependencies and they themselves rely on their and the likely rates of environmental change predict that ecosystems for their survival. An example of an ecosystem service is the of the local extinction of species. but also services like water numbers of endemic species. which is driving climate there are micro-organisms that provide the services of change. and islands often host large food. numbers of introduced species. other major threats and published as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 32% of amphibians and 25% of conifers are importance of landscape and biodiversity in a cultural now threatened with extinction (IUCN 2004). A large-scale assessment of ecosystem services. medicines and fibre. will be threatened with extinction by 2050 These natural services are of enormous value to human (Thomas et al. direct economic benefits are are simply not available for many other less well-studied drawn from natural systems. regulatory and cultural services (see and over-harvesting. however. concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse On a much smaller scale. the result of long periods purification. in the pollination deposition of nitrogen from the atmosphere causing of plants. including staple food crops. Though of species remain uncertain. Both the bees and the waste- but that situation is unlikely to persist: models that take handling organisms. climate change provisioning.org and Chapter 2). nutrient retention. that we are witnessing the sixth great extinction wave there is a growing appreciation of the importance of the on the planet. a stable production is now diverted to human consumption climate. (1997) estimated the annual EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 3 . though equally importantly. the The benefits to humankind that can be delivered by expansion of which has been at the expense of natural natural systems are known as ecosystem services. They habitat. current rates of species extinction science that links biodiversity – the biological richness of are believed to be much larger than background or an ecosystem – to the way in which it functions has only natural extinction rates. climate regulation and of isolation and evolution. So far. Pounds et al. large numbers of species. alternatives. and the control of disease. Pollution can be a major cause ecosystem. Quite apart from the mammals. Recent declines of bee cause the complete elimination of species unless populations have had considerable economic impact: for imposed over very large areas or affected species are example. 2004. made by an international group of scientists In addition to habitat conversion. gases in the atmosphere. non-indigenous species. 1997). because the underlying evidence is incomplete. introduced species are the major categorisation encompasses ecosystem goods like cause of extinction. there is little evidence of extinctions removing waste produced by human society and recycling having already been brought about by climate change.millenniumassessment. some 8000 years ago.

by society from the ecosystem and real losses from its these findings suggest that despite conservation efforts. the world does not care too much about biodiversity conservation. what these terms. they provide a management of biodiversity. The maintenance of language of costs and benefits. In matters with strong moral represent a massive contribution to the economic well. but that the lack of financial backing institutions of governance. regulating. repercussions. Pearce concluded the data were Part of EASAC’s role is to highlight issues of European inadequate to determine the economic value of global importance and to offer advice on them to the European conservation efforts.2 The current study Actual expenditures through bilateral assistance. James et al. or of particular are economically valuable and loss of biodiversity could species from the ecosystem. much less than is required (EASAC) as a contribution to the scientific debate on the efficiently and effectively to protect ecosystems and future of European biodiversity. the rhetoric. therefore. A focus on the concept of ecosystem ecosystems are still under threat. debt-for-nature swaps The current study has been commissioned by the Council and support for protected areas is probably less than of the European Academies Science Advisory Council $10 billion per annum. and concluded of decision-making where economic analysis is itself that ‘actual expenditures on international ecosystem strongest. there is no doubt that ecosystem services economic domain. These services effort put into maintaining their ability to deliver essential imply a real monetary value for the benefits received services is unlikely to be sufficient.value of these services at $33 trillion. 2002). the sheer scale range of provisioning. As such. must be an essential part of the underinvestment in conservation of biodiversity and survival strategy for human societies. Pearce (2006) attempted to relate of essential and valuable services is expressed strongly actual conservation efforts to economic values (measured (in both economic and other terms) in those areas through stated preferences or otherwise). or that biodiversity has alternative values damaging actions can reduce that delivery. this situation is therefore provides a framework for the identification and unlikely to be economically efficient. such as biodiversity conservation. food for the human population except through the use of natural systems involving soil. it is essential that the value of biodiversity in promoting the delivery In a recent survey. impoverishment. conversely. except through the policy-making processes in Europe is such that the operation of the water cycle which depends critically argument is constructed in a major part through the on the activities of organisms. not only so that should be taken into account when designing that we can manage them appropriately but also to assign 4 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . Balmford et al. we have no way of providing framework for decision-making. We need to understand how these parallel case of societal response to climate change by the services are delivered: does it matter if an ecosystem on Stern report (Stern 2007). so that future flows of services and the benefits they provide to society ecosystem services will be compromised. However. conservation appear to be remarkably small and bear no relationship to the willingness to pay figures obtained in the various stated preference studies. compared with a policy. the Global Environmental Facility. To address the chronic ecosystems. being of all societies. Although this figure has proved values (for example intrinsic values) lie outside the controversial. Nevertheless. the power of economic analysis within plants. Although an economic approach incorporates global gross national product total at that time around many relevant values – use and non-use values – some $18 trillion per year. 2001. as recognised in the assignment of value. for association of the science academies of the European example. which we depend for the provision of clean water or climate regulation has few or many species? What will What are the consequences? Because ecosystem services be the consequences of losses of species. cultural and supporting of the services provided by ecosystems suggests that the services that underpin human well-being. soil organisms and crop However. Annex 2 contains further to conservation agreements suggests that ‘despite all background on this study. there is to ensure that future decisions do not lead to an little evidence that this message has been understood. Important though management of ecosystems improve so that otherwise formal economic analyses of ecosystem services may inevitable trade-offs among services can be reduced? prove to be. nor of providing drinking water. unacceptable further loss of biodiversity. comparing various estimates of the costs and benefits of conserving ecosystems. particularly in relation to translate into welfare losses for humans. EASAC is an independent safeguard the future flow of ecosystem services (see. economists are the system’s capacity to absorb disturbances? How can increasingly interested in the topic. Many of the services are simply economics does not provide a one-stop shopping irreplaceable: for example. it has been argued that ecosystems (or We need to understand what features of ecosystems biodiversity) have a value that cannot be expressed in enhance the delivery of services and. Upon Member States. Taken together.’ Ecosystems represent the intersection of the living and non-living worlds: they are the stage on which organisms Great uncertainty is associated with the valuation and interact with the physical world.’ 1.

In this study. services developed by Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Working Group members prepared an initial assessment Loss of biodiversity may therefore have a greater impact of these factors. also listed in Annex 3. primary production. is often made that ecosystems with many species are inherently better able to deliver specific services. by increasing biodiversity. 1. is promoted of specific services. In contrast. The Working Group members. from six of leading scientists and economists working in this EASAC member academies. Similar contrasts can be in this report. makers in maintaining ecosystem services in Europe. This assumption example soil. field across Europe to provide an up-to-date scientific review of the concept and how it may be used in economic models. which was extensively reviewed by a on the initial process of sequestration than on wide range of experts. and their significance will vary regionally. deep 4.3 Methods 2. environment. in the absence of large and unsustainable inputs of resources by human activity. Statement of the consequent threat level to the peat maximises carbon storage and is typically associated provision of these services: that is. Comments long-term stores. a range of the member academies before publication. which was then subject to a review within identified for other services. This report has the following purposes: The report was prepared by an expert Working Group 1. Assessment of the relative significance of biodiversity In discussions of ecosystem services. To help in the identification of the role of European European environment. The importance of services to the 3. been examined in order to draw conclusions about the significance of biodiversity in supporting these. are listed in Annex 3. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 5 .more accurate economic values to them in the economic ecosystem services within a European context has models that typically determine policy. either 3. water) where biodiversity is important is likely to be more true for some service elements than in each case and an evaluation of the knowledge others. To assess the scientific consensus around the concept appointed by EASAC Council and Chaired by Professor of ecosystem value by bringing together a selection Alastair Fitter FRS. in the case of carbon storage in the base for each. economy and societies is not ecosystems in delivering services and to assist policy. Prioritisation of ecosystem services within a European biodiversity with the aim of identifying the main gaps context: the group used the systematisation of and target areas. which is a crucial issue in understanding how ecosystem change will affect climate change. equal. for example. leading to marked regional variations and contributions from reviewers were taken into account in sequestration capacity. To contribute to the evidence base by providing a This EASAC Study has been made in four stages: scientific overview of knowledge about ecosystem function and services and their interactions with 1. the extent to with very low biodiversity. an assumption for each of these services. both regionally and locally. which threats to the maintenance of biodiversity in which determines the rate at which excess carbon Europe can be identified as a threat to the provision dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. 2. Identification of the parts of the ecosystem (for immediately or in a sustainable manner.

6 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

organisms that have significance for humankind because of religious or spiritual meanings they Ecosystem services are defined by the Millennium contain or simply because people find them Ecosystem Assessment as the benefits people obtain attractive. flood and fire. water on which life depends. to the ecosystem. life history N temperature. It is the individuals that respond to the abiotic factors of the habitat. Cultural services. Box 1 The ecological hierarchy ECOSYSTEM Impacts Processes Variables Pollution Nutrient cycling Productivity Climate change Energy flow Biomass disturbance Water cycling Complexity Communities B I Biodiversity. pollution and such natural hazards as defined as an ecosystem. which underlie ecosystem services. the provision of landscapes and Ecosystem Assessment. Although ecologists recognise landscape units such as forests and lakes as ecosystems. although in most uses ecosystems are environment conducive to human society. Regulating services. Communities are made up of populations of organisms whose individuals interact with each other and with those in other populations by competing for resources and preying on or parasitising others. water.2 Ecosystem services and biodiversity 2. nutrients M Conditions: acidity. both of these are at much larger scale. from ecosystems.1 What are ecosystem services? 1. ecosystem is that it is the level in the ecological hierarchy 3. These services underlie all other with which they form one physical system’. including the capture of energy The ecosystem concept was introduced by the pioneer from the sun. and the and nutrient cycling and productivity are determined materials that human society uses for fashioning its and can be measured: these are the processes that own products. the provision of the products (see Box 1) at which key processes such as carbon. and the cycling of water separate [organisms] from their special environment. Supporting services. Predation N water. are the result of the interaction of the organisms and the abiotic environment. managing large-scale entities. energy. Individuals E Behaviour. An categories. who stated ‘we cannot soils for plant growth. food. which provide the basic infrastructure of life. ecologists recognise biomes and the biosphere. through the community (the set of populations in that area). The four broad categories recognised by the Assessment and which form the framework for A detailed analysis of these services is provided in this report are: Annex 1. The ecosystem is one stage in a hierarchy of systems recognised by the science of ecology. from the population (the individuals of a single species in a defined area). wind T The diagram represents the components of the ecosystem. functional O diversity T Predation I Parasitism C Competition Mutualism E ABIOTIC ENVIRONMENT Populations N V Dynamics. Provisioning services. they also accept that ecosystems are not self-contained: they have porous boundaries and both organisms and materials move between systems. which brings in the abiotic elements. invasions I Habitat structure: R physical complexity Competition O Resources: light. Above the ecosystem in this hierarchy. which comprises the abiotic factors of the environment and the biological communities that live there. the formation and maintenance of ecologist Arthur Tansley in 1935. which can be of 2. which maintain an any size. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 7 . determine how the world functions and that underlie all the services identified by the United Nations Millennium 4. ecosystem then is the interacting system of living and non-living elements in a defined area. often with important ecological consequences. Processes in ecosystems. and nutrients. The importance of the disease. continental or global. Thus a lake or a forest may be the climate.

there may be only one of each. experimental biodiversity and ecosystem services? evidence shows that both number of species and number of functional groups can play an important role in All ecosystems contain living organisms. and especially those under • fixation of nitrogen gas from the air by bacteria into human management. showing forms that are useable by plants. have low biodiversity. they form a distinct functional group typically this management focuses on a single service. therefore. although in controlling ecosystem processes (Reich et al. may have little biodiversity. roles in an ecosystem. such as predation. It is essential to understand. of ecosystems: it explicitly addresses the benefits that human societies gain. as in the Arctic. where the focus of management is to divert some will always be rare and others common. The services. many highly productive ecosystems. importantly. the carbon cycle. productivity can only be maintained if the cycling of nutrients One striking feature of ecosystems with many species continues. ecosystems problems in ecology is to determine how important characterised by extreme environmental factors. competition and parasitism. Many factors therefore determine their populations. There all production through a single crop species. others by hunting: these represent distinct of this is nearly always a reduction in delivery of other functional groups of predators and they play distinct services. the delivery of a wide range of be a common species). some cases there will be few different species or types whereas in others there will be many. therefore. represents the normal operation of the are complex but well studied. For example. be from the other species. Among those nitrogen cycle. including importantly ecosystems are isolated from others by natural barriers. that all ecosystems deliver multiple services. Similarly. agriculture. where the conditions for (Vitousek and Walker 1989). both natural and • decomposition of organic matter by microbes. depend on these underlying of increasing species richness that occurs as one travels processes. the services environment changes. called functional groups.2 What is the relationship between species from a large group. such as: from the poles towards the equator. and in urban may be some that play especially important roles in the environments. as on very acid or based on an anthropocentric view of the functioning polluted soils. Generally. which underlies the that many other factors are at work. Nevertheless. some spiders catch it food production or water cycling. and the consequence prey in webs. and is seen sets of key species are lost (Estes and Duggins 1995. which are the underlying driver of biodiversity. 2004)). the biodiversity of an ecosystem Because the processes depend on organisms and the is never fixed and will change. among the plants in a grassland ecosystem. often markedly. rates of dispersal. at its most intense in iconic ecosystems such as coral Terborgh et al. In a diverse ecosystem there will be many legumes or many wolf spiders. functional group from an ecosystem or the keystone species from within that group is likely to have more severe consequences for its functioning than losing one 2. productive ecosystem. in a species- The most extreme cases of human alteration of poor system. as the organisms are linked by their interactions. The reasons why ecosystems vary so greatly in biodiversity however.The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classification is extreme cold. Even ecosystems are found in some forms of intensive where there are many species within a functional group. such as competition. or toxins. although there will be some species. This variation in scale is greatly and gain access to the pool of atmospheric nitrogen exacerbated when ecosystems are managed by people: for their nutrition. however. which control the size of in a community. and all provisioning services depend intimately is that these species can be grouped into sets that have on the supporting services of production and water and similar ecological roles. For nutrient cycling. factors are rates of evolution. Nevertheless. which global scale this is apparent in the remarkable gradient are a human construct. that form the relative scale of the various services will vary greatly a symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots among ecosystems. The delivery of these services. which assisted by humans. that a keystone species may not necessarily In both of these cases. and the complex set of interactions between species. such as legumes. example. which control • interactions between organisms. where the soil may be extensively covered ecosystem. themselves are also linked. and reflects the natural processes that occur natural ecosystems have the highest biodiversity: on a within every ecosystem. the sizes of their populations and often their persistence predation and parasitism. which are especially important when is the basis of all nutrient cycles. In contrast. how many species occur in an ecosystem and hence its biodiversity. with impermeable surfaces such as concrete and tarmac. these are known as keystone species (note. 2001) or when new species invade reefs and tropical rainforests. This richness of Ecosystems can certainly change drastically when biological types is known as biodiversity. One of the great unsolved life are generally favourable. either that biological richness is for the operation of processes 8 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . It is obvious that losing an entire alternative ecosystem services will be minimal.

that demonstrate that biodiversity plays a large role clear-felling a forest to obtain the ecosystem service of in many cases. for example by controlling the promoted. evidence that biodiversity has positive effects on most ecosystem services’. Within the context of the Millennium timber products results in the temporary failure of the Ecosystem Assessment framework. Urban areas constitute large-scale experiments on 2. it follows that loss of species will of rivers) or pollution (for example by heavy metals). indeed. with negative effects on the service manipulations or measurements. and their delivery is affected as ecosystems urbanisation consumes only about 4% of the total land EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 9 . the lower such as air cleaning. Services uneconomic. arable land Supporting services: in a meta-analysis of 446 is typically managed to maximise yield of food crops. Regulating services: in an experimental study of Urban landscapes are characteristically heterogeneous: pollination in pumpkins. human activity leads to severe degradation of the ecosystems with very low biodiversity are in many cases ecosystem. most obviously in diversity declines is often followed beyond a certain agro-ecosystems where food production is the major threshold with a collapse of function. Cultural services: evidence from the 2001 foot and Characteristic of many of the urban ecosystem services mouth disease epidemic in the UK demonstrated that is that they are often generated on a very small scale: the economic value of biodiversity-related tourism patches of vegetation and even individual trees may greatly exceeds that of agriculture in the uplands of generate services of high value.such as production and nutrient cycling. by gross interference (for example canalisation slower or less active. it was the diversity of parts of an urban landscape may have very few species. forests regulate water flow and quality services. and especially more types of species with diverted to human use and is not therefore available distinct functional attributes. 1970) . all ecosystems deliver more than one service. 2007). among many other functions. eventually cause degradation of processes. determined seed set (Hoehn et al. The impact of urban report addresses arise from the normal functioning of areas extends far beyond their boundaries: although ecosystems. A the management of the ecosystem may be directed at slight decreasing trend in ecosystem functions as species maximising some particular service. pollination and seed dispersal are regulating the ecosystem.3 Land use and multiple services the effects of global change on ecosystems where significant warming. pollinator species and not their abundance that whereas elsewhere there may be substantial biodiversity. as would include: shown by the classic Hubbard Brook experiments in New England. and therefore manipulation of an ecosystem to Despite the uncertainties surrounding the mechanisms maximise one particular service risks reducing others. In have shown that when there are more species in an many ecosystems. typically contribute minimal levels of provisioning services. The services that this prevalent (Carreiro and Tripler 2005). 2008). ecosystems that have been altered by services decline progressively or suddenly as biodiversity human activity still deliver important services. mixed swards of grasses are more related more directly to human health could also be productive under less intensive production systems substantial: Lovasi et al. In more extreme as it progressively loses species. output. ecosystem processes such to other species that may play an important role in as biomass production. but studies of the impact of biodiversity on primary one consequence is often a reduction in the amount of production. street trees and urban vegetation Provisioning services: where grassland is used for may generate services related to environmental quality biofuel or other energy crop production. such examples system to retain life-supporting nutrients in the soil. often due directly to human presence (Elmqvist et al. Such financial return makes intensive production systems services may be of high value for human well-being in involving heavy use of pesticides and fertilisers urban regions (Bolund and Hunhammar 1999). 2008). However. that link biodiversity to ecosystem processes and For example. and specifically that there was a The most extreme examples of human alteration of clear effect of biodiversity on productivity (Balvanera ecosystems are found in urban areas where ecosystems et al. the primary production is increasingly ecosystem. Although the shape of the relationship is not entirely clear (do Nevertheless. increased nitrogen deposition and The interaction of organisms and their environment human domination of ecosystem processes are already underlies the ecosystem concept. Experiments are altered by natural events or human exploitation. USA (Likens et al. Similarly. there was ‘clear of climate regulation (Smith 2004). is lost?) there is evidence that it is highly non-linear. 319 of which involved primary producer carbon stored in soil. but because processes in cases. Green areas. (2008) showed that asthma rates than pure swards (Bullock et al. noise reduction and recreation. It is less certain what happens to an ecosystem populations of potential pest species. among children aged four and five in New York City fell by 25% for every extra 343 trees per square kilometre. 2006). the UK. there are numerous well-documented examples and store nutrients in soil.

delivery of services more dependent on the maintenance of biodiversity. fibre and energy. removed at great expense by water companies. burned to maximise growth of • hydrological services which function at a landscape young heather shoots and the number of grouse. and improve most provisioning services. The For example. services. a major challenge is how to • by clarifying and strengthening rights of local people manage trade-offs between the services. and scale. international bodies to ensure that appropriate but others lose. do so to achieve benefits markets. for example. which operates at a local scale and can future fertility. as is often the case for • by integrating ecosystem services into global. of trade-off can be identified: To control the impact of these trade-offs. its footprint includes the vast areas of by high inputs of fertilisers lead to reduced land used for intensive food production and all the other biodiversity. maintenance of soil integrity will promote challenge is to move towards ‘win–win’ or at least ‘win nutrient cycling and primary production. • Service trade-offs: these occur almost invariably when Even where human impact is more benign or has less management is principally for one service and are in impact. but because these services are not independent of one another. has brought about.area worldwide. All ecosystems deliver multiple services: some of these will be complementary and some conflicting. In • by improving access to information on ecosystem contrast. notably for food. wherever services are delivered by maintaining services and their valuation. it will be • Temporal trade-offs: there may be benefits now with essential to take into account the spatial and temporal costs incurred later (or more rarely vice versa). This goal can storage and hence climate regulation. this will reduce the and local planning. In managing land (and where appropriate water). which appears as colour in drinking water and has to be • carbon sequestration in organic matter in soil. of ecosystem services. be managed by ensuring that there are areas of land managed that maintain populations of pollinators in • Spatial trade-offs: the benefit may be experienced a mosaic of land-use types. as well as the impacts on regulating services biodiversity conservation. which operates at a regional and global scale and necessitates policy decisions by governments and • Beneficiary trade-offs: the manager may gain benefit. at the site of management. and the loss of dissolved organic matter to water. Land scale at which ecosystem services are delivered. Examples used for food production may store progressively of services that operate at different scales are: declining stocks of organic matter. such as nature reserves. decisions will be needed on prioritisation among practice similar to beneficiary trade-offs. incentives are in place to ensure necessary behaviour Most management systems that maximise production by local land managers 10 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . Moorland. fibre and other chemicals. enhance carbon more and lose less’ management strategies. national production of food. by massive greenhouse gas little production value. such as a watershed. application. people • by framing and using appropriate incentives and/or always. leading to actual or potential conflict. land managed for population. monocultures of a single species. Different types over their resources. Equally. production and distortion of the hydrological cycle. help regulate water be achieved in several ways: flows and water quality. and hence • pollination. with long-term consequences both for nutrient cycling. increases co-operation among land managers at that scale. even if only implicitly. so that those who appreciate land for its provisioning services required to maintain the urban conservation value lose. and which require hence the income from grouse shooting. and carbon sequestration. including pollination and disease • by ensuring equity and consistency of rules and their regulation. but the cost incurred elsewhere. These trade-offs are real and well documented.

very dry regions (some parts of the exotic tree species. levels of agricultural productivity in biodiverse systems EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 11 .2 An assessment of ecosystem services and biodiversity biodiversity in Europe Europe’s cultural landscapes have been shaped by The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment offers a global traditional land uses. It is the best studied of the supporting services. recreation areas. all reduce both quantity and quality of 1930 –1969 with those in 1987–1999 and showed biodiversity and hence have an impact on productivity that there had been marked increases in distribution (see.1 Patterns of European 3. such as semi-natural and natural environments. To ecological services. Conversely. Georgia. 2005). A1 Primary production Within a given climatic zone. and climate is generally benign. for example. climate change). arid lands production and biodiversity. either directly (farming. The full assessment of ecosystem the margins of Europe in the Caucasus Mountains services made in the course of this study is given in (Ukraine. Armenia) and in the eastern Alps. species Maintaining primary production of agricultural. 2002). whereas arable weeds. and species of open ground and semi-natural ecosystems is essential for achieving had all declined. Ireland. This pressures.3 European biodiversity and ecosystem services 3. Islands often have low biodiversity overall both because they are small in area and because of the failure of otherwise widespread species to colonise them after A Supporting services disturbance such as glaciation. most European ecosystems policy-makers in the EU. have been decreasing. ecosystems is widely variable. heathlands. biodiversity tends to be greatest in habitats characterised by intermediate levels Primary production in the Earth’s ecosystems is recognised of disturbance. they frequently have endemic species or races. with the centres of to comment on the threats to the services and to suggest biodiversity occurring in the Mediterranean basin. an important area for further research. as a result These are the basic services that make the production of of evolutionary processes in isolated populations: all the other services possible. wetlands and old forests. of recently introduced species and those found in nutrient-rich habitats. the mechanisms involved are are increasing. Annex 1. These landscapes provide numerous view of the importance of ecosystem services. nitrogen played by biodiversity in delivering them. with deleterious consequences for Although there is a close association between primary European biodiversity as a whole. One of the most detailed studies of recent changes in In ecosystems without external nutrient input. of different ecosystem services in Europe and the role forestry. Ciais et al. on urgent research needs. such as changes in land use. has only 25 species of native mammal and fewer than 1000 native plant species. Primary The European landscape is dominated by agriculture production is generally high in Europe because soils are (44%). natural of nutrient-poor habitats. agricultural production and use habitats and the widespread deposition of atmospheric of land for other productive purposes. expert opinions. we have undertaken a poll of are more or less intensively managed. the distribution of species and Ecosystem Assessment ecosystem services in this context. grasslands. Achieving good nitrogen in the region. urbanisation) or indirectly (pollutants. notably in northwest Europe.000 years. for example. In contrast. nutrients and water supply: at both as fundamental to all other ecosystem services and extremes. increasing loss of undisturbed soils and vegetation. No European ecosystems are achieve an understanding of the relative significance unaffected by human activity. including carbon sequestration in in agricultural practice. Environmental plants in Britain and Ireland (Preston et al. Habitats that were formerly the main Mediterranean region) and seriously polluted or degraded reservoirs of biodiversity. Working Group members and other experts were asked to assess each of the Millennium Within Europe. These changes reflect the changes several policy goals. climate change compared systematic records made in the periods and pollution. concerns about them. forests (33%) and by spreading urban and young and hence fertile. diversity declines. This section highlights the role that ecosystem Diversity also trends downwards with latitude and is services play in Europe the part played by biodiversity in lower in areas severely affected by glaciation within forming and sustaining these services and European level the past 15. often of a single or very few (Arctic and alpine). Many of the forests are managed for Low productivity is associated with very cold regions timber and are plantations. as needed by deposition. especially in southern Europe. biodiversity was the New Atlas project for flowering biodiversity often enhances production. appears to be strongly dependent on biodiversity.

In alpine areas. inhibition of fixation – and problems in Europe arise in the south because of deficit by sewage. leading to reduced soil carbon. the early stages after land surfaces are exposed. etc. It is a key process in climate change. causing be more efficient at retaining water than exotic species. dams. has resulted in Soil formation is a continuous process in all terrestrial contamination of soils by heavy metals (for example zinc. pollution) are active.) and long-term trends in precipitation and releasing them back into the environment. Loss of soil biota may reduce soil formation rate with damaging consequences. 2007).will be important in economic development of rural areas increasingly important. In intensively farmed landscapes. profound impacts on water movements and the extent of biodiversity is likely to be important. and soil livelihoods (see. besides natural factors. The widespread use of sewage sludge as an agricultural A4 Soil formation fertiliser. though an effective way of recycling nutrients removed from soils by agriculture. purifying and controlling water are becoming badly eroded (Poesen & Hooke 1997). the role of species diversity is not clear as many of the There are concerns that the increasingly dry conditions processes can be performed by a wide variety of species. on management by plants (‘green water’) and water flowing through rivers interventions. Both vegetation and soil organisms have critical to these cycles. structural changes to rivers and water abstraction. Nutrient cycling is also considered a highly important Many of those impacts are likely to be amplified through ecosystem service for Europe. sulphur and of compaction or development of surface crusts. Soil biodiversity is a major potentially damaging consequences. respond to warming. and then decompose. Runoff A2 Nutrient cycling has become more rapid owing to changes in landscapes. climate change and intensive agriculture intensive agricultural use (Newman 1997). and native flora may and phosphate may be lost to watercourses. This may be offset to an extent by increased species to substitute for each other and biodiversity plays productivity in the northern parts of Europe as they only a moderate role. Nutrients are cycled as including a greater frequency of extreme events (storms. 12 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . by wind or water. however. changes in water cycles through drainage. for maintenance of soil fertility. runoff is sometimes metals to soils – through effects including increased. It is of considerable concern in Europe. Bullock et al. with environment with the potential for accumulating damage nutritional and structural consequences for soil. which will result in different patterns both terrestrial and aquatic systems and is essential of water movement both spatially and temporally. frequently flooded. Natural processes play key roles: to encourage tourism alongside traditional agricultural vegetation is a major factor in controlling flows. taking them up. The main acidification. which inhibit nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Biodiversity is evaporation. droughts. including deforestation. Humans have made massive consequent loss of other services through eutrophication. cadmium). That local increase of primary productivity from fertilisers used in agriculture and from The water cycle is an important process in the overall pollution may come at the cost of ecosystem damage and management of water. has older soils with lower pressure. but is particularly important and active in copper. in southern Europe will lead to a decline in primary There appears therefore to be considerable scope for productivity. micro-organisms are important in purification. Where penetration is low because by atmospheric deposition of nitrogen. Northern European A3 Water cycling ecosystems are still in the early stages of recovery from glaciation and consequently soils are often resilient to Urbanisation. despite a example by removal of organic residues so that organic considerable volume of European legislation. especially where alter the ability of ecosystems to retain nutrient stores. which alters the blue:green balance. climate change or pollution formation is fundamental to soil fertility. organisms grow. for anthropogenic pollution is urgent as. land drainage and urbanisation. There to essential nutrient cycles will be particular concerns on soils that are subject to intense erosion. factor in soil formation. Disruption to nutrient cycles can be brought about water penetrates soil. It is Changes in biodiversity of natural ecosystems brought a highly important ecosystem service in Europe. denitrification. both damage to water quality and economic losses on A key control on the water cycle is the ease with which farms. nitrate and other channels (‘blue water’). Changes in species The capacity of ecosystems to sequester nutrients composition can affect the balance between water used depends. The services provided by the environment in resilience that have suffered severe damage and are often distributing. Much of the have placed Europe’s water resources under considerable Mediterranean region. for example. ecosystems. However. industrial and agricultural effluents in aquatic of water and in some central European areas which are systems. processes leading to soil destruction or degradation resulting in release of nutrients to other ecosystems with (erosion. Soil about by land-use change. Intensive Research into the ability of soil organisms to resist agriculture can also reduce soil quality in other ways. acid carbon incorporation into soil is less than the rate of deposition and eutrophication persist in much of the EU decomposition.

in that much of the CO2 discharged by human pathogen. The global carbon cycle is strongly diseases are usually caused by the introduction of a new buffered. the expansion of applications of biological control. indirectly by vegetation. In Europe there are strong regional B3 + C2 Water regulation and purification variations in trace gas emissions and absorption. Some one of the most important ecosystem services. Peat soils contain the important. notably methane (CH4) and nitrous prevalence of pests and diseases of crops and livestock. and Europe has large areas is less rapid in more biodiverse ecosystems. possibly because of factors such (see Annex 1 B1) that Europe’s terrestrial ecosystems as the structure and complexity of ecosystem. leading to storage in biomass and in soils. exploiting the properties organic or low-input farming systems. Management of diseases can involve several activities into the atmosphere is absorbed by oceans and approaches: control of diseased hosts. European ecosystems may be better able to resist invasion by novel ecosystems play a major role. tables in farmed peatland. performance and the mechanisms that underlie carbon sequestration and storage is therefore crucial. The most promising measures include: higher can be provided by generalist and specialist predators organic matter inputs on arable land. The services atmosphere. B Regulating services research is needed on the contribution of biodiversity to climate regulation. Current climate change is largely driven the actions of predators and parasites as well as by by increases in the concentrations of trace gases in the the defence mechanisms of their prey. biological control Globally and on a European scale. There is in its boreal and cool temperate zones. peat the maintenance of water quality. Other Disease regulation is therefore related to the control of the greenhouse gases. Biodiversity that the key ecosystems. in particular the peat soils. and Europe soil development. ensuring the regulation of climate. a contrast between northern Europe primary production and thus carbon sequestration. Naylor and Ehrlich of perennials (grasses. The current evidence suggests that biodiversity has a moderate impact in climate regulation. These suggest that soils across Europe vary in the contribution The water regulation and purification service refers to they make to climate regulation services. of soil organisms plays a major part in creating soil and continue to function well. and the loss or damage to ecosystem function communities can play a role in suppressing plant parasites through the indirect effects of human activities is reducing and affecting nutrient dynamics by modifying abundance this capacity still further. In many managed systems.high rates of erosion may be countered by high rates of soils have especially high carbon contents. a significant problem given that soil These are benefits obtained from the regulation of biodiversity is under threat from many soil management ecosystem processes. For instance. principally as a result of changes in land use of regulation are expected to be more in demand in and rapidly rising combustion of fossil fuels. The major future as climate change brings new pests and increases greenhouse gas (CO2) is absorbed directly by water and susceptibility of species to parasites and predators. also a consensus that a diverse soil community will help The problem we face is that the rate of emissions exceeds prevent loss of crops due to soil-borne pests and diseases the capacity in oceans and terrestrial ecosystems for (Wall and Virginia 2000). Knowledge about their maintaining soil function. and chemical control of pathogens. control of plant pests potential. the introduction and parasitoids (Zhang et al. Higher trophic levels in soil buffering. ecosystem management to reduce spread of the disease organism. contains extensive areas of peat containing large quantities of carbon. it is essential has been considerable damage and erosion. represent a net carbon sink of some 7–12% of the 1995 The role of biodiversity in disease regulation may be anthropogenic emissions of carbon. There is evidence that the spread of pathogens largest single store of carbon. and the introduction of zero or conservation tillage. replacement of terrestrial ecosystems (Janzen 2004). However. whose young soils are relatively resistant to intensive agriculture and the Mediterranean region where there Given the importance of carbon storage. practices. susceptible by resistant hosts. B1 Climate regulation B2 Disease and pest regulation Climate regulation refers to the role of ecosystems in managing levels of climate forcing gases in the Pests and diseases are regulated in ecosystems through atmosphere. oxide (N2O) are also regulated by soil microbes. raising of water of pest regulation in biodiverse ecosystems. The but also of human disease vectors and disease. including the EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 13 . Biodiversity of low-input ecosystems facilitates There is. it has been calculated pathogens than others. climate regulation is of pathogens. 2007. Strategies will have to be of intermediate consumers (Sanchez-Moreno and Ferris adjusted to manage areas with high carbon sequestering 2006). then. There is a need for the development of European for conservation or biofuel purposes. trees) on arable set-aside land 1997). Major interplay between biodiversity and climate regulation is outbreaks of both human and wildlife (animal and plant) poorly understood.

There is strong on deforested slopes. such as volcanic production. for example. direct supply of clean water for human and animal although vegetation itself is very important. It is highly valued in Europe. especially in mountainous For cities. This is a regulating service reducing of the impacts of natural forces on human settlements and the B5 Pollination services managed environment. environmental change. 2004). not just abundance. Changing low-lying coastlines. Reduction of landscape diversity is related to ability to reduce the risk of diversity and increase of land-use intensity may lead to a avalanches (Quetier et al. 2006). leading to crop loss Ecosystem integrity is important in providing protection with severe economic consequences. There will therefore be high-intensity rainfall events and more seasonality an indirect impact of biodiversity even in this case. with increased intervention. Increasing land-use intensity and replacement and green areas in urban landscapes for air cleaning. including flash floods due to The role of pollinators. ecosystems to mitigate extreme events. may influence the quality of pollination service (Hoehn 14 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . with controls climate change. for example consumption. storm surges due to sea-level evidence that loss of pollinators reduces crop yield and rise and the increasing use of hard coastal margins. 2005. Although vegetation is a major determinant of water flows and quality. of biodiverse natural and semi-natural ecosystems by where parks may reduce air pollution by up to 85% intensively managed lands and urban areas have resulted and significantly contribute to reduction of noise. Increased urbanisation and more intensive such as bees (Ricketts et al. but less so to geological hazards. and micro. Many hazards arising from human interaction with The pollination service provided by ecosystems is the use the natural environment in Europe are sensitive to of natural pollinators to ensure that crops are pollinated. Öckinger & Smith 2007). The pressures from these hazards. in increased runoff rates. as is changing climate – with consequent heavy rain. 2007). apart from decreased crop localised to a few vulnerable areas. particular. that cannot retain rainwater. including use of above. seems to play a relatively small part. In lowland Europe. the loss of natural and semi-natural habitat and increasing tree diversity is believed to enhance the can impact upon agricultural crop production through protection value against rockfall (see. Urban development in Europe. including rare eruptions and earthquakes.management of impurities and organic waste and the Biodiversity. In not in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. has decreased abundance and diversity of many insect pollinators. such as bees. fires caused by prolonged drought. is not done through sacrificing all other environmental qualities linked to those spaces. Environmental quality regulation organisms play an important role in the quality of groundwater. Dorren reduced pollination services provided by native insects et al. use of pesticides. a considerable health issue in view of projected to the managed recharge of groundwater. In alpine regions. Soil state and vegetation both act as key in preventing avalanches in mountain areas or protecting regulators of the water flow and storage. modifying storm flows. vegetation and endangered wild species. just as on groundwater extraction rates to protect surface elsewhere in the world. in reduced fecundity of plants. for Water Framework Directive. there are several factors that impinge addition to services like water purification mentioned on water regulation and purification. landslides and avalanches in Europe as elsewhere in the world. in maintaining crop extreme rainfall events on heavily managed ecosystems production is well documented and of high importance. with or without human Habitat destruction and deterioration. Examples include the role of vegetation of water. Increasingly. faces considerable challenges ecosystems would be a valuable enhancement to the where efforts to reach some environmental goals. Soil biodiversity may reduction of pollination service in agricultural landscapes play a role in flood and erosion control through affecting (Tscharntke et al. example increased transport and energy efficiency through increased infilling of open space with urban B4 Protection from hazards infrastructure. 2008). The existence of a healthy soil land use (forest cover. the relationship of water regulation and Environmental quality regulation is a new category. In the surface roughness and porosity (Lavelle et al. particularly in southern Europe around the regions. use of drainage) is a major community may control infiltration rate of water after factor. purification to biodiversity is poorly understood. There is increasing use of land for production may reduce the ability of evidence that diversity of pollinators. freshwater supplies are a problem in Mediterranean. river engineering and increasing urbanisation regulation services of importance for human well-being leading to higher levels of run-off and contamination and health. ecosystems contribute to several environmental floodplains. on pollinators may result. in rainfall distribution. vegetation and green areas may play a the Mediterranean region and in such densely populated very important role in mitigating the urban heat island areas as southeast England. combined with extreme summer temperatures. A more coherent approach effect. that the availability of a diverse pool of pollinators tends air pollution due to intensive use of fossil fuels to lead to greater yields. then.

however. of which such as metabolites. There is currently from nature as feedstocks in transformation to strong policy direction to increase the proportion of medicines – but also other chemicals of high value energy derived from renewable sources. There are already established has decreased pollination services through the loss of damaging impacts on food production. for are vulnerable to runaway pathogen attack (Mock et al. we do not fully understand prices worldwide. as currently practised in Europe. products for industrial use. fertilised biofuel production systems. both economically simultaneously generate a suite of other services as well. full analyses of the carbon the causes behind recent declines in pollinators.et al. with the face of disturbance. Such large-scale monocultures goal. the pulp and paper industry has invariably requires heavy subsidies of chemicals. and transport and manufacturing emissions. Biodiversity of the crop C1 Provision of food will probably play a small direct role in most biofuel production systems. cosmetics and other natural being achieved partly by the cultivation of biomass crops. conversion of currently uncultivated land to production. However. A report from the US EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 15 . in particular urbanisation and intensive agriculture. The provision of fibre has historically been a highly household food security and ecological sustainability important ecosystem service to Europe. for which biodiversity is important. losses of other These are the benefits obtained from the supply of food greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide from nitrogen- and other resources from ecosystems. C3 Energy resources C5 Biochemical resources Energy – the supply of plants for fuels – represents an Ecosystems provide biochemicals – materials derived important provisioning service as well. as which are burned as fuels in conventional power stations. Intensive agriculture. generation’ fuels will be displaced – at least for ethanol production – by a second generation of non-food The concern at a European level is that change in land materials. disease. However. serious sustainability issues. with minimisation of associated species. and environmentally. this is crop protection chemicals. fluxes show that the carbon mitigation benefits are much smaller than anticipated because of losses of carbon from C Provisioning Services newly cultivated soils. but any services being restored to produce biofuel. The expectation is that these ‘first means for sustaining pollinator service in Europe. Trees other ecosystem services (Hooper et al. With the depend on high rates of use of fertilisers and pesticides. In addition. Maintenance of biodiverse landscapes. soil erosion. Wool production C2 Water regulation and purification is generally a low-intensity activity on semi-managed pasture lands with the potential to support considerable See paragraph B3. and these are unlikely to be sustainable in dominating production of plant fibres in Europe. energy a significant presence in Europe. representing the and capital. from economic and ecological perspectives. well as protecting pollinators by reducing the level of the and partly by diversion of materials otherwise useable use of agrichemicals (including pesticides) is an important as food for people. At present. is centred around crop There is. Most textiles (Jaenicke and Höschle-Zeledon 2006). Maintenance consumed in the EU are now produced and manufactured of high productivity over time in monocultures almost abroad. availability and pollinator species. these areas could raising questions about sustainability. 2008). 2007). Land-based societies depend is of great importance. destruction of vegetation when new land is brought under the plough. pharmaceuticals. Diversity planted for pulp are grown at high densities with limited may become increasingly important as a management scope for biodiversity. the potential of economic incentives monoculture. nutraceuticals. correct regulations and institutions. All of these biofuel production systems present use. The world may therefore be over- dependent on a few plant species: introducing a broader C4 Provision of fibres range of species into agriculture might contribute significantly to improved health and nutrition. overuse of most raw pulp being produced from highly managed natural capital (for example water) and trade-offs with monocultures of fast-growing pine and eucalypts. 2005). biological materials are a major part. biodiversity. livelihoods. Heywood (1999) biofuel production systems have the potential to be estimates that well over 6000 species of plants are known especially damaging to conservation of biodiversity to have been cultivated at some time or another. but because their introduction on a large scale will inevitably about 30 crop species provide 95% of the world’s food lead both to more intensive land use and to the energy (Williams and Haq 2002). although all land-based biofuel Among provisioning services. Biodiverse cropping systems may prove of value for ensuring robust future productivity. the delivery and production will rely on the supporting and regulating maintenance of the food chain on which human services. for that currently degraded land with little generation of These systems offer high yields of single products. providing a broader array of ecosystem services.

Table 2 summarises the 16 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . ecotourism. Those in the flow of these services.4 The role of European biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem services All the services within these groups have a large element of non-use value. marine environments). limited capacity to conserve the range of genetic diversity within populations. impact on biodiversity if over-harvesting removes a high These large areas may provide both tranquil environments proportion of the species. less 3. Genebanks are of a wide range of other services without economic better developed in the EU than elsewhere but have intervention. makes provisioning of fibre. though important. study and manage genetic resources critical importance because of the high value many of in situ (for example growing crops) and ex situ (for Europe’s people place on the existence and opportunity example seed and DNA banks) worldwide. The economic value appears to be critical for Europe. There are now numerous initiatives to In Europe. 3. the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has fundamental resource for bioprospecting (Beattie et al. especially those in the first group to Information on the role of biodiversity in the continuing which economic value is hard to apply. Nevertheless. Biodiversity appears to Table 1 shows the results of the assessment of importance be a critically important factor in biochemicals and genetic of each particular service relative to its overall global resources. Maintenance of diverse there may be problems in poorly studied systems (for ecosystems for cultural reasons can allow provision example soils. Biodiversity is the example. ‘pristine’ environments and regard the impoverishment of landscape. might itself have a negative managed areas. fauna. whereas the provisioning service of genetic resources is of low These are best considered as falling into two main groups: importance compared with its overall global importance because there is so much more genetic resource in other (1) spiritual. Biodiversity plays an important role in critically depend on biodiversity. with oil-derived products) are within reach. religious. Policy (including Genetic resource provision. where semi-natural biotopes dominate. plant oil-based plastics Evidence for the importance of these services to citizens and polyhydroxyalkanoates. for become a significant land-use issue. only that for food heavily on their enjoyment of nature. Although the intrinsic biodiversity of natural space are providing new precision in characterising biodiversity in Europe varies greatly. greater general diversity and higher productivity. aesthetic. proteins. for example provision of agricultural and forestry policies) needs to be aimed at genes and genetic material for animal and plant breeding developing sustainable land-use practices across the EU. the supporting service of than in other services. there is evidence that people value (Fears 2007). flora and fauna as negative factors. with many C6 Genetic resources local traditions based on the management of land and its associated biological resources. provisioning and regulatory services of biodiversity. where there is their value for provisioning services. inspirational and sense parts of the world. For example. then. a membership of over one million and an annual income 2005) but it is rarely possible to predict which species or of over £50 million. either economically or environmentally. because of the heavy pressure on water D Cultural services from a relatively densely populated region. fuel. is a function of the current level to deliver cultural. Cultural services based on biodiversity ecosystem will become an important source. polylactides. though incomplete. of place. cultural services are considered to be of collect. using molecular markers. which could conservation-oriented organisations. including most to enjoy landscapes and open spaces with their flora and EU countries.3 The significance of ecosystem services critical. however. New techniques. however. suggests that second group are more amenable to traditional valuation there are ecosystem services of high value in Europe that approaches. (2) recreation. biochemicals and genetic material from European sources. then. The availability of of ecosystems for tourism and recreation often exceeds alternative sources from outside Europe. cultural heritage and educational. The high-value products may of the EU can be found in the scale of membership of make use of biomass economically viable. conserve. and for biotechnology. such as for celluloses. In the UK.Environmental Protection Agency (2007) concludes fostering a sense of place in all European societies and that economically competitive products (compared thus may have considerable intrinsic cultural value. Low-input agricultural systems are also likely to support cultural services. Otherwise the role of biodiversity is less here importance. impacting Of these provision services. Harvesting are most strongly associated with less intensively for biochemicals. EU extinction rates remain low. effectively and with minimal cost. water purification in ecosystems has a high importance for Europe. relying on imported materials for in a European context many of these provisions may not be sustainable. and a sense of wilderness.

This service is therefore most important in mountain areas. Fibre Medium: important industry in boreal regions. Cultural Spiritual /religious/ Values of high importance to many EU citizens but very hard to quantify economic value aesthetic/inspirational / (see section 4. Provisioning Food High: food production a key service in the EU and likely to become more so as global food prices rise. Water cycling Locally high: critically important in arid regions of southern Europe.3). however. Flooding and drought becoming increasingly important as rainfall patterns and land-use change. Pollination Medium: hard to replace in both natural and agricultural ecosystems. but could gain significance within novel agricultural systems. especially where cultural /heritage/ agricultural value has declined. we have added a new service of environmental quality in the Provisioning category.Table 1 Expert opinion of the importance to the EU of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment ecosystem services In this analysis. Primary production High: production underlies all biological processes. likely to increase in significance in other areas. Fresh water Covered under regulating services. for example in property values. extensive membership of wildlife and conservation bodies sense of place indicates significance. Disease regulation Uncertain: emerging diseases of increasing importance but role played by ecosystems in regulating these is unclear. Genetic resources Low: current valuation low. but rapidly growing emphasis on biofuels may lead this to be a major service. Fuel Medium: traditional uses (fuel wood) only locally significant in EU. Nutrient cycling High: the cycling of nutrients in soils and waters is essential for the maintenance of productivity and has a high value throughout. providing added value to biomass crops for fuel. Environmental quality High: provision of goods such as clean air and a safe and peaceful environment already valued. Water High: the regulating and provisioning services for water are combined here. Category Type (Millennium EU rating Ecosystem Assessment) Supporting Soil formation Locally high: soil formation is most valuable where loss rates of soil by erosion are high or where soils are very young (hundreds of years) and have not yet matured to the point where they can sustain high productivity. Recreation/ecotourism/ High: increasingly these are major economic values in rural areas. Regulating Climate regulation Locally high: northern European peat soils have global significance as carbon stores. Biochemicals Low: currently of marginal importance. and we have combined water provision and regulation into a single regulating service. educational Table 2 Expert opinion of the role of biodiversity in maintaining current ecosystem services in Europe Increasing role of biodiversity ➞ A3: Water cycling A1: Primary production A4: Soil formation A2: Nutrient cycling Increasing importance of ecosystem service ➞ B1: Climate regulation B5: Pollination B3/C2: Water regulation and provision D2: Cultural services: recreation B4: Protection from hazard C1: Food provision C7: Environmental quality C3: Energy provision B2: Disease regulation C4: Fibre production C5: Biochemicals provision D1: Cultural services: spiritual C6: Genetic resources EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 17 . availability of clean water especially significant in heavily urbanised and industrialised areas. but likely to increase.

Working Group members and other reviewers contain those ecosystem services and biodiversity rated each of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment contributions rated medium and low. The lower quadrants review. The Pollination stands out as a crucial regulation service ecosystem services that are of critical importance in depending critically on biodiversity whereas hazard Europe (high European importance) have been separated protection. These crucially important and depend critically on biodiversity. nutrient cycling and soil formation. In this part of the in the top right-hand quadrant. In Europe it seems ecosystem services according to their importance in a that most of the supporting services. including primary European context and the importance of biodiversity production. depends less on into the upper quadrants. medium or high). ratings form the basis of the assessment in Table 2. and those for which biodiversity biodiversity. is especially important have been identified and placed 18 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . are in their maintenance (low. although critical in Europe.review of expert opinion on this factor.

there is a to change. 1996. However. and of the biotic predicted to result in large changes in the supply of environment. on a very large scale. ecosystem services. such as an invasive species or a parasite. that functional groups of species remain available and are an increasingly reliable source for estimates (Lundberg and Moberg 2003). recovery of the of common and rare species in a community. where the serious disturbance of gross and increased vulnerability as a result of a decreasing supply sustained over-fishing drove the population below a level of ecosystem services (declining soil fertility and green from which it has been unable to recover. sometimes. but also that they have the ability to maintain systems (see. surfaces such as muds. for a variety of reasons. even in more complex ecosystems that have distinction between primary and secondary succession. as happened productivity) or offer opportunities (surplus land for in the well-documented example of the Newfoundland agricultural extensification). This insurance records of ecological history obtained from peats and aspect of biodiversity has been discussed principally in lake sediments show that change is a normal feature of the context of productivity and in simple equilibrium ecosystems. 2001. One approach is to build models a tree dies. simply by increasing the chance that disturbance. the insurance metaphor can help us understand how the successive appearance of distinct communities of to sustain ecosystem capacity to cope with and adapt plants and animals on a site after disturbance. and this diversity of response may The major difference between the two processes is that be critical to ecosystem resilience. Although some of these trends may If the environmental change is sufficiently severe. and whether losses of ecosystem services are sometimes the species previously found on a site fail to therefore predictable from the way in which an ecosystem re-colonise.4 Managing ecosystem services in Europe 4. area being studied. where species are very long-lived such requires modelling. although the early resilience or vice versa. high species soil has to be formed in primary succession and the diversity does not necessarily entail high ecosystem process may take thousands of years. In the extensive Ives and Hughes 2002. Luck et al. However. high of ecosystem response to environmental change. environmental change.1 How ecosystems respond to change as an insurance against major disturbance and the likelihood that the community will fail to recover to All ecosystems experience environmental change and its original state. 2006). It may then ecosystem can be slow. for example. result in The concept of succession implies that communities predictable changes on whole ecosystems as a function recover in predictable ways after disturbance. or reduced supply of energy and matter. literature on the phenomenon of ecological succession. a process of substantial interest now The large challenge that remains for ecology is to predict that this is a policy objective in many parts of Europe. it may be thought of as positive (increases in forest area and shift the community to a new stable state. A critical control on the rate of community based on large-scale ecological patterns. the local environment may have changed so of models and situations of climate and land-use change much that they are no longer able to reproduce or grow to conduct a Europe-wide assessment of the likely from seed. many induced changes have cod fishery. If the disturbance is responds to change (Southwood et al. Mediterranean and mountain regions proved particularly vulnerable. water. glacial moraines and river gravels. Consequently. Sustaining desirable states of an ecosystem in the face of multiple or repeated perturbations therefore requires Modelling tools allow improved regional estimates. of their size. be possible to determine whether fragmentation of habitats. Loreau et al. Large changes in climate and land use were environment. such as climate change. in space or time. In biodiverse ecosystems. Schröter et al. Environmental changes that can bring about impact of global change on the supply of ecosystem such a shift in tolerance include those of the physical services. Norberg et al. increasing risk of forest fires). 2003). and species-rich areas may also be stages can be quite rapid. numerous possible stable states and in human-dominated Primary succession occurs on bare or recently uncovered environments (Folke et al. such as the recovery in secondary succession is the ability of the relationship between the number of species and the species to survive or disperse back into the disturbed area. exemplified by the return of woodland to abandoned agricultural fields. Long-term key species will survive or be present. varying in scale and impact. As a levels of biodiversity in an ecosystem can be viewed significant example of an estimate of European ecosystem EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 19 . species within Secondary succession is the replacement of an existing functional groups will show a variety of responses to community after removal of all or part of the vegetation. themselves in the face of change. or among the relative abundances If the disturbance is on a very large scale. (2005) used a range as trees. Secondary succession is often highly vulnerable to environmental change. Tilman and Downing 1994.2002). the species may have gone extinct in the area and cannot disperse back Predicting ecosystem response to environmental change in. However. the the likely changes in ecosystems after disturbance or same process occurs in miniature in a forest every time environmental change.

on carbon emission targets. 2007). especially in agriculture. There are good prospects for reliably modelling ecosystem The direct outcome of these pressures on biodiversity responses to environmental change at local or regional is seen in the impact on farmland species. This aside was designed to address economic issues of farming pronounced selection leads to distinctive communities. or intensification on ecosystem service delivery is minimal. 2006). Some of these pressures land surfaces are covered with concrete or tarmac.3 Methods of valuing biodiversity and services. The amount because of the way in which different land uses are of carbon stored as soil organic matter has declined in most intensive arable soils. showing complete loss of heathland from the Netherlands has that regional-scale studies are needed. despite its obvious potential to do so. Many other examples have Source: European Environment Agency based been documented. and birds. where gardens and parks. with demonstrable impacts conservation value (Natura 2000 areas). increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations on vegetation UK. to a decline in the service of pollination. good at dispersing or being dispersed. are effective dispersers but militates against others. and consequences also on maintaining species diversity in natural and semi- for ecosystem services in the European natural habitats across Europe. including threats to pollinators leading on Corine land cover 2000 and Natura 2000. may have consequences not only on agricultural production but 4. 2005). butterflies and plants suggest land use in Europe will need to take into account the a decline of species populations in nearly all habitats in vulnerability of ecosystems to environmental change. climate change combined with the effects of (now known as Rothamsted Research) in Hertfordshire. based on effective monitoring of environmental change Large declines in agricultural landscapes of populations and trends in biodiversity. Current strategies of habitat management and indicators based on birds. under the twin pressures of the effect is to produce a dichotomy between highly urbanised intensification of agriculture and urbanisation. and the almost Impacts were predicted to vary across Europe. Preliminary scales. for example where the other (Pleininger et al. set. essential for many crops and for all natural ecosystems. Union Landscapes in Europe have also changed through The landscapes of Europe have altered substantially urbanisation. been ascribed to atmospheric nitrogen deposition. especially in intensively used agricultural areas in ecosystem services European lowlands (for example the Netherlands. for example. ecosystem management strategies need be 23% between 1970 and 2000 (de Heer et al. but there has also been a others where biodiversity may be very high. which favours species that a general lack of coherence of policies. In some regions. Urban environments have traditional land-use systems have been lost or diminished. improved management Figure 1 Central Belgium is composed principally practices that take carbon sequestration as a goal could of highly urbanised areas and areas of high double the amount stored. which by definition are issues. The evidence for the effects of nitrogen deposition is clear: the long-running (more than 150 years) Park Grass experiment at Rothamsted Experimental Station 20 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . of pollinating insects. There has been the fragmentation of habitats. as in some large policy element. which disperse seeds and control pests. Intensive agriculture threatens delivery of many ecosystem 4. The largest declines are observed in farmlands. the most prominent of which as land uses have polarised either towards extensification is their extreme heterogeneity: there are patches where and even re-wilding on the one hand. support but was not optimised to address biodiversity often dominated by alien species. increased pest problems due to the more rapid spread of pathogens through ecosystems with low biodiversity. shows that a species-rich grassland can be converted growth were shown to produce changes in the cycling to a monoculture of a single grass by sustained addition of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems (Morales et al. and have been simply economic. such as bees and butterflies. Many and protected areas (Figure 1).response. Europe. the in the past 60 years. parts of southern England and northern France) and in large-scale Many of these threats to ecosystem services arise irrigation systems (for example in Greece). If we are to ensure the delivery of multiple ecosystem where species populations declined by an average of services.2 Threats to biodiversity. A consequence of this heterogeneity is price support has driven farm practices. many distinctive features. such as central Belgium. of high levels of ammonium nitrogen. and the impact of atmospheric nitrogen deposition (derived from fossil fuels and excessive use of fertilisers and other intensive agricultural practices) on semi-natural ecosystems resulting in declines in biodiversity and poorer water quality.

for example) or of damage costs avoided the ecosystem services provided by the land. The immediate value taken into account in 2. These approaches ignore the value of wetlands. We can distinguish cases where the ecosystem service benefits a small group of agents from those where it 1. Wunder (2005) defines a payment for an ecosystem service as a voluntary transaction where a well- 4. Actions by governments and intergovernmental significance they have. and that those methods require. A new tool that ecosystem services or to provide a ranking of alternatives is being actively developed is payment for ecosystem to guide decisions. for example. service being delivered. The transaction should be attaching monetary value to ecosystem services and. follows. as that benefit from the service and the scale of activity. there is much current interest in the consideration. once these are fully explained. based on valuing credible results. they also have a set of non-use values services are public goods. It has produced emerging range of policy instruments. This bias through the recent TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystem reflects both an ability to handle multiple services better Services and Biodiversity) initiative. to the biodiversity underpinning them. in voluntary and the payment should be conditional on the certain cases. Stated preference methods that assess the amount development to balance the value of the development people say they would be prepared to pay for itself in assessments of costs and benefits of alternatives. for example. ecosystem services. However. Another productivity or the costs associated with recreational useful distinction is between cases where service use of landscape. Paying for an ecosystem service is Ecosystems have value in terms of their use. Revealed preference methods based on evidence benefits a large and presumably more diverse group. as proved possible to attach an actual economic value to the exemplified by carbon trading schemes. If of current values as shown. that provides options for managing opinions about willingness to pay. especially in the form of contingent valuation. for example). we cannot rely on markets associated. for example not necessarily the same as trading nature on a market: for the production of food or management of flood markets may play a role. loss of soil function. remain challenges and it has proved difficult to persuade some policy-makers of the results. but because many ecosystem risk. Cost-based methods based on costs such as decisions is typically expressed in terms of the market those of replacing an ecosystem service with other price of the land to a developer or the value of a crop means (hard flood defence as a substitute for coastal it will produce. The way in which PES operates depends on the numbers The instruments fall broadly into three main classes. but only if the supplier secures In recent years there has been considerable progress in the provision of the service. preference methods.3. gives powerful global examples. it has development of markets for ecosystem services. reflecting real public/community ecosystems services. It concludes that there are major threats to ecosystem services from the current Contingent valuation has proved flexible and is both high rate of loss of biodiversity but that there is an widely accepted and widely researched.valued. down the nature of the services and their potential scale it is possible to alter the terms of assessment so Despite the simplicity and effectiveness of contingent that the ‘development gain’ is not the only factor for valuation. In more ambitious assessments. the services provided by an remains the most effective means at present of attributing ecosystem at risk can form a powerful part of the monetary values to complex ecosystems delivering narrative in project assessment. services (PES). have been most widely used in dealing with the The EU has taken as active role in advancing valuations real case of multiple services from an ecosystem. which will (the costs of repair to property exposed to erosion by be placed in jeopardy by the proposed development. Approaches of this kind have been used widely in project evaluation both of alternative land use and for Each method has strengths and weaknesses but stated conservation investments. the impact of services on the ecosystem service resembles a public good. both main kinds of value through a range of instruments. Simply by setting multiple services. with the cultural and aesthetic alone. The valuation of ecosystem services offers the potential to place a value on the services forfeited by the 3. in the we consider regulatory services that impact everybody. ‘suppliers’ and ‘demanders’ are geographically located EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 21 . It has proved possible to capture organisations are also needed. The report of the than the more objective methods that tend to focus on first phase of the work (European Communities 2008) single attributes (for example food production or flood highlights the importance of valuation of ecosystems defence) and the poor availability of the economic data services and the biodiversity that underpins them.1 Quantitative methods defined ecosystem service is bought by at least one buyer from at least one supplier. market price of products. Although there them in future. contingent valuation At the most basic level.

Large Farmers might therefore wish to pay the forest companies that depend on the canal were willing to invest owner to offset any incentives that exist to in it by underwriting bonds to finance replanting of the destroy the forest. does not invalidate PES but does require an but progress in fixing carbon is slow and fragile because of institution that enables co-ordination. 22 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . even successful about non-economic criteria (for example cultural values) PES schemes may lead to their own demise because that define biodiversity values. and those cases (GEF). City gets most of its drinking water from the Catskill Mountains watershed. In Costa Rica’s coffee plantations. because markets fail in the presence and criteria are measured according to quantitative of public goods. is an some non-governmental organisations play that role for assessment of the nature and scale of the ecosystem specific projects and the Global Environmental Facility services themselves and. while water farm. Here.1). canal caused clogging and eutrophication. we lack international reasonable strategy selection in terms of critical criteria. paying processes require knowledge of all influencing factors money to farmers for not growing crops may result in (OECD 2004).1). Hand pollination of fruit forest with native tree species. section 1. The savings on purification plants can be viewed as a proxy for the valuation of the regulatory services provided by the watershed. deal yields large environmental benefits. 2004). is designed to deal with where they are not (see Table 3) global conservation issues. which in turn induce other approach for ranking alternative options that allow the farmers to convert new areas of habitat into agricultural attainment of defined objectives or the implementation of fields. government could invest in watershed management and conservation. Second. First. we often have a poor understanding of the ‘production function’ of ecosystem services and Generally. the companies then trees is now necessary in Maoxian County in qualified for reduced insurance premiums. at an initial cost of about $250 million and recurring costs of $100 million each year. However. imposing costs and conservation interests coincide: a profitable business on local farmers. The can play an important role: using taxes to pay for public outcomes of both monetary and non-monetary objectives goods is an excellent solution. economic valuation of biodiversity offers ways cannot easily estimate how a given management to compare tangible benefits and costs associated with intervention will translate into service outputs. Many demanders Watershed management: a simple market solution Global carbon trading: when we want to reduce emissions (public good) cannot apply where the service is a public good of greenhouse gases it does not matter whether we plant and susceptible to free-riders exploiting it: if trees and fix carbon in India. sediments and nutrients flowing into the (cf. namely scoring. so the feedback is local.3. and the government are compared and ranked. though The basis of all valuation methods.2 Qualitative methods: multi-criteria analysis of PES. China (cf. funded by all countries. Reforesting the watershed higher yields thanks to more visiting insects. Third. however. New York significant free-riding incentives. However. in cases where the viability of Table 3 Classification of cases relevant for payment for ecosystem services Local feedback International feedback Few demanders Pollination services: loss of insects means that crops The Panama Canal and regulatory services: after may fail and hand-pollination may be required deforestation. institutions to broker deals between suppliers of ecosystem services and the rest of the world. Alternatively. Such market failure costs of reducing emissions (invest where success is cheap). decision-making they trigger behavioural changes: for example. government analysis.close together. it cannot be priced on a market and no-one will There is great scope for market instruments to lower the invest to make it available. Poor water quality in the 1980s implied large costs for installing water purification plants ($5 billion up-front and $250 million per annum). A wide range of qualitative impact categories ecosystem services. but ignores information we can value those outputs. There are numerous challenges to the implementation 4. necessitating this service may be worth about $60. Coffee plots close to forests have 20% flows became more episodic. even if ecosystems (Pagiola et al. in the Netherlands – a tonne of carbon is a tonne of carbon. economics Sichuan. Within a nation’s borders. Hence multi-criteria analysis purchases the ecosystem service from the supplier on facilitates the decision-making process while offering a behalf of society at large. ranking and weighting. Multi-criteria analysis is a structured higher prices of food crops. and pay farmers to limit pollution. or invest in new technologies nobody can be excluded from enjoying a service. was the cheapest way to maintain the canal.000 per regular and costly interventions like dredging. section 1. it is not always obvious who will pay for the policy goals.

3. The average for 2007 was double the 2006 price. projects of economic development. Although evidence The authors suggest that ‘practical appraisals need is accumulating that not only biodiversity per se but also to compare the relative magnitude of changes in the the continued provision of essential ecosystem services provision of ecosystem services across different options’ is vulnerable to land-use change. Annex 1 summarises some key areas for further work. that the methods for valuing This involves a series of steps. the status of ecosystems depends on the implications’ (Defra 2007. so that a policy change. (FCERM) scheme includes specific estimates of the economic value of changes in ecosystem services under a at about €6 (New Carbon Finance 2008). In Europe. value the changes in ecosystem services (Defra land uses 2007. In most cases it should be possible to present services have rarely been discussed. At ecosystem services. reflecting the and Rural Affairs (Defra). with prices ranging from €2 to over options for a Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management €300. 4.4 Prioritising ecosystem services in land 4. to strengthen the underpinning science. impacts on human welfare and economic value instruments. the ecosystem services and biodiversity are becoming consequent impacts on ecosystems. conservation of endangered or otherwise both the physical changes in ecosystem services and valuable natural habitats and plant and animal species is the appropriate monetary values to apply to these. despite the reasons. with an now accounts for about 65% of global carbon trading. motivated by corporate social responsibility or by personal concern. Human activities such as timber developing rapidly. for example.the ecosystem is placed at risk. 22). provided by the UK Department for Environment. footprints. the latter typically involving biodiversity remaining uncertainty about the absolute value of the conservation. However. p. altered structure. potential impacts of policy options on ecosystem it is clear that there is much further that can be done services. there has been only and conclude that ‘this can be possible even with limited weak attention on the impact of land use on ecosystem availability and precision of scientific and economic services. 49). p. highlighting the key uncertainties and exploring their In Europe. Natural ecosystems with spontaneous biota develop in conditions without human interference. Cultivated and urban ecosystems are EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 23 . identify and provide qualitative assessment of the behind them gives a strong basis for valuation. In this analysis the steps were: individual decisions. on environmental impacts of 1. loss of biodiversity can be valued in terms of average about 8. dominant land use. These are taken up as underlying science is therefore of great significance in all companies and individuals seeking to reduce their carbon kinds of valuations. assess the effects on human welfare. Current knowledge of ecosystem services and the processes 2. the EU Emissions Trading harvesting in forests and grazing of traditional extensive Scheme (EU ETS) is in a second phase of development and grasslands give rise to semi-natural ecosystems. provided that there is a robust description of the relationship between Voluntary offsets also contribute to global reductions biodiversity and ecosystem services. habitat management are broadly supportive of moves towards greater inclusion is usually undertaken for economic or aesthetic/cultural of economic value estimates in appraisals. changes in ecosystem accepted and embedded in a wide range of policy services. up from 25 million An example of putting valuation into practice has been tonnes in 2006. is but are rare in Europe. quantify the impacts of policy options on specific ecosystem services. the nature and scale of Current allowance prices for carbon within the EU ETS the consequent impacts on the provision of ecosystem show some volatility but are currently (September 2008) services. In Europe. Volumes traded biodiversity. focusing on species and/or habitats. The quality of the of greenhouse gas emissions. The market in offsets is developing rapidly. The prime current example of PES. Food The costs of carbon offsets vary widely. using the ‘impact pathway approach’. management: weighing up alternative 5. therefore. 3. It seems. a robust assessment. The results of valuation are also increasingly of changes in ecosystem services are considered in turn recognised and accepted in policy debates and in (Defra 2007. p. carbon trading. Alternative land uses maximising particular information. regulated by the Habitats Directive. 22). The availability of biodiversity-related ecosystem services This approach ensures that key stakeholders in FCERM depends on land use. resulting from uncertainty about the EU level. range of options. Volumes transacted in 2007 were about 4. establish the environmental baseline. with suitable sensitivity analysis.5 million tonnes per month. Its appraisal of a range of quality of the offset. ecosystem services foregone or reduced. Where the ecosystem services are dependent on around €22 (per tonne CO2 equivalent).3 Putting valuation into practice 65 million tonnes CO2 equivalent.

There has been much attention on semi-natural grasslands: 24 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . without drastic change. old stands are being replaced by conifer plantations. fibre and fuel. They also provide have caused a decrease in biodiversity. The opportunity for agricultural systems. Second. Major land use different regulatory services like pollination (Tscharntke changes have included: the intensification of arable field et al. biotic exchange semi-natural grasslands as a source of clean and and the direct effects of elevated carbon dioxide sustainably produced fodder has been recently recognised concentration in the atmosphere (Sala et al. 2006) requires the regulation of land-use intensity. etc. but also rich in genetic variability within dramatically during recent centuries (Poschlod et al. would same time. after which changes in land use agricultural plants. now need to be broadened in order to cover a wider range of societal needs. the abandonment of low-intensity services is primarily dependent on the continuation of the grazing systems and the change to livestock housing. the decreasing price of energy caused another Policy aims to increase agricultural production. 2004). The (Bullock et al. focusing on economic benefit on the one hand grasslands and undrained wetlands are not available. Optimal habitat attention than they have received until now. followed services. the management of nutrient status of ecosystems is of Besides traditionally accepted cultural services and more primary importance (Baattrup-Pedersen et al. land-use the impact of land-use type and intensity on ecosystem change will probably have the largest effect.characterised by the presence of cultivated or introduced optimal grazing and mowing regimes. European statistics on the area of semi-natural in Europe. medical plants. their amelioration for agricultural Although agri-environment schemes encourage farmers purposes and for extracting fuel. were afforested or abandoned. cheap use in forest or wetland ecosystems. as well as different dynamic (Poschlod and WallisDeVries 2002). encouraging habitat management and aiming natural ecosystems such as forests. At the (Swift et al. although ecosystem management strategies have to offer principles different types of sustainable forestry may work as well for land use in order to minimise the possible conflict (Kuuluvainen 2002). 2007). Historical floras show that the highest diversity might contribute to the development of new breeds of occurred around 1850. However. the extensive land use in agricultural landscapes. The Common Agricultural miracle’. In land use. 2007). the ‘period of the economic current policies of the EU. and arable land with increasing use of fertilisers and Current strategies of habitat management and land use pesticides. has been weak. drainage of wetlands. for terrestrial ecosystems. During the latter part maximise ecosystem services are not targeted in the of the twentieth century. species and may thus provide genetic resources. minimal intervention to preserve or improve multiple ecosystem services. aiming to maintain biodiversity. Global scenarios of changes in biodiversity for the year At the same time. and afforestation of the to restore species-rich grasslands on arable land or on lowlands with coniferous. differ greatly in their these cases the linkage to delivery of ecosystem services capabilities to provide services. farming from about 1840 owing to the foundation of or multiple cultural services. interest on the other. but and on the conservation of habitats and species of special national surveys report a strong decrease in their area. the significance of European by climate change. To achieve that goal. 2000). maintaining both ecosystem services and biodiversity During recent decades. In natural aquatic ecosystems. utilitarian services like production of food. techniques of species and large changes in ecosystem structure. between management goals that target different services. where naturally regenerated diversification in land uses and diversity among land users. Those grasslands are extremely type and intensity of land use in Europe have changed rich in species. the proportions of forests and outside conservation areas lies in promoting diversity of urban areas have increased whereas those of arable land land use at the landscape and farm rather than field scale and permanent crops have decreased in Europe. however. which 2005). First. Proper is usually the best habitat management strategy. These cutting shrubs and burning. both in forests. management in agricultural ecosystems (Rounsevell et al. The availability of those agricultural chemistry. etc. there has been an increase in the intensity of require an economic and policy climate that favours land use. nitrogen deposition. the extent of urban and intensively valuing ecosystem services. in all stages within these broad types. the land-use types that (Poschold and WallisDeVries 2002). There is therefore There have been numerous attempts to find optimal an urgent need for policies that prioritise the delivery of habitat management strategies for particular broad ecosystem services from land and that favour appropriate ecosystem types. whereas regulation of hydrology is an important issue supporting and regulative services deserve much more when managing wetland ecosystems. have been discussed broad types of ecosystem. For instance. Similar policies apply to land cultivated land increased tremendously. 2002). 2005) or hazard prevention (Quetier et al. Current policies also imports of agricultural products from more distant regions lack a landscape perspective and fail to take into account caused further decrease of extensive agriculture: these the linkages between landscape units or the delivery of habitats were either converted into more intensively used multiple services from ecosystems. there is accumulating evidence of 2100 identified that. often non-indigenous trees culturally improved pastures.

be brought together. the importance of environmental sustainability. sustainable development in the EU has • actions in the wider countryside and marine taken a back seat to the goals of economic development.3 The European management framework The emphasis of the science has been on improving EU concern about the decline of biodiversity culminated in understanding of the biological. to undertake the Lisbon Strategy mid-term review. environment. and in particular the fundamental role of • support to biodiversity in international development. Agenda.1. the economy. However. These values need to be translated into and for enhancing research on biodiversity. This was highlighted in 2004 when the review of the European Union Sustainable Development Strategy (EU • making regional development more compatible with SDS) was delayed to enable the European Commission nature. 5. between biodiversity and ecosystem services aims to to non-scientists the concept is intangible and it is provide support to these initiatives. the profile of biodiversity in the sustainable development policy more generally.1. evidence EU is relatively high.2 European policy background • and the knowledge base. More recently. • biodiversity and climate change. and the production of the European Biodiversity Policy-makers need an improved evidence base on Communication have similarly fallen low on the EU Policy which to develop and justify environmental policy. physical and chemical the European Commission 2006 Statement on Biodiversity. and the The EU’s aim is to halt loss of biodiversity by 2010. than expected. now that the Communication based approach’ to environmental management and has been issued. and a revised ‘platform for action’ (COM 2005 658 final) was adopted • addressing most important habitats and species. at the June 2006 European Summit.1. function and the services EU mechanism for informing implementation of the EU they provide to society and the consequent benefits to Biodiversity Action Plan and further policy development. This knowledge needs to • biodiversity in the EU. and promoted. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 25 . This strategy has been under review. • reducing impacts of invasive alien species. • the EU and global biodiversity. Despite its European Treaty status. sometimes difficult for people to translate the theory into terms that are meaningful in their everyday life. with the Communication appearing a year later To support the increasing calls for ‘an ecosystem. and into measures that within the European Environment Agency (EEA) but to enable integration into decision-making frameworks. This project on the relationship accepted by natural scientists and some policy-makers. 5. The preferred terms that are consistent with the frameworks within option for delivery is to create a secretariat based which policy-makers operate. Furthermore. ecosystems for providing the goods and services on which society and ultimately economic growth depend. inter-relationships within and between ecosystems. this emphasis has shifted to understanding The Communication identified four key policy areas: the functions of these systems and the respective roles of each of the components. In 2001 the The following priority objectives were proposed in the European Council set out a strategy for implementing this communication: goal. has • reducing negative impacts of international trade. groups would respond to requests from the European Commission for advice on matters relating to biodiversity Although the concept of ecosystem services is widely and ecosystem services. characteristics of different ecosystem types. Although the potential of environmental technologies for supporting economic growth are now acknowledged • effective international governance. 5.1 Introduction: the current policy and not been yet been acknowledged by the wider European management framework policy community. summarised and translated into terminology and principles that are relevant to policies. Sustainable development is the overarching long-term goal of the EU set out in the European Treaty. These particular into economic models.5 Policy options and recommendations 5. the Biodiversity is required to demonstrate the importance of ecosystems Communication includes within it a proposal for a new in terms of their structure. in support this with groups of independent experts.1 The policy context The review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans.

To address this weakness. A forest can be a major store of carbon. and hence to quality of only beginning to find ways to value carbon storage life. Some value is for progress in making policy on European placed on amenity. the marketable goods. but the consequences have been key importance to our survival as a society and particularly highly undesirable. We carbon emissions from transport. Focussing on these services may obscure a more fundamental point: that all ecosystems deliver a broad • strengthening the knowledge base. First-generation biofuels almost susceptible to the biological richness of the ecosystems never reduce net carbon emissions. and frequently not open to substitution by placed on most of the basic supporting services (soil any artificial process. In some cases. Perhaps the best recent example of a policy failure that arose from considering ecosystem services singly However. and is to long-term sustainability. boosting the local • promoting public education. industry in the form of fibre or fuel. environment in general and have minimal amenity and ecotouristic value. This is a highly have highlighted four of these services as being both of desirable goal. No effective values are immense value. it can play a key role on the water cycle. second-generation approaches may well be ineffective. for some of which biodiversity is crucial and some of which are of particular economic or social The Communication suggests four supporting measures: value. nutrient cycling. ensuring cycling of • building partnerships. but these appear to play a smaller role in carbon storage and trace gas regulation performed by sustaining modern European societies. all ecosystem services that do not provide goods that can be handled through conventional 5. despite the fact that in this case it is possible erosion or coastlines against tidal surges. needs of economic development in improving quality of The second point is that many of the multiple services life in Europe and is given less weight in policy discourse. flooding and avalanches. importance of ecosystem services. Within a forest managed exclusively for timber production will this larger framework. looking for a more powerful narrative to link biodiversity only rarely values water cycling and regulation. it can prevent loss • strengthening EU decision-making. range of services. European policy-makers are society currently places no value on nutrient cycling. such as important. There are other services of ecosystems for a single service – the production of for which the evidence suggests that biodiversity is biomass for fuel – ignoring the other services. of disease epidemic in the UK. because of the increasing recognition biodiversity? that the economy of many rural areas in agriculturally marginal zones is heavily dependent on tourism. perhaps most notably in the case of physical structure: for example. The European target of 10% of motor fuel evidence that the number of types of organisms makes derived from biofuel was set as a means of reducing a substantial difference to the delivery of the service. helping to regulate climate. there are some services where there is clear is biofuels. This may include an evaluation of the economic effectively.2 Is what is known about this topic sufficient market mechanisms are undervalued.• adaptation to climate change. water and nutrient cycling) and primary components of all ecosystems. awareness and economy directly. will store biodiversity in particular appears less immediate than the little carbon and will be ineffective at retaining nutrients. make-up of that vegetation matters less. and typically their always undervalued. 26 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . what matters to understand the value that it provides in relation to is that there is vegetation and. In these cases. The first is that framework for addressing biodiversity loss. it can be a source of resources for • adequate financing. pollination and a set of cultural services centred around The problem is that the policy leads to the management ecotourism and recreation. Two key points arise from understanding that all Although these objectives and measures provide a ecosystems deliver multiple services. the marketable goods such as food. the same or other organisms in the same system. as This review has demonstrated that the services provided dramatically revealed by the 2001 foot and mouth to humanity by ecosystems in Europe are many. as far as is known. water vapour back to the atmosphere. and it can be a substantial attractant to visitors. at least at present. biodiversity appears to play a relatively small role. it follows that they play a production is generally only valued in so far as it creates key role in the delivery of the services. Generally speaking. in stabilising slopes against pollination. that arise from a single ecosystem are either undervalued or completely unvalued: in the case of the forest. the key managing an ecosystem primarily to deliver one service objectives of the EU remain the sustainable development will almost certainly reduce its ability to provide others: objectives set out in the Barcelona Statement. Regulating services are almost presence of organisms is what matters. of soil and nutrients. Because living organisms are essential formation. and even that deliver them: primary production. varied. participation.

being particularly strong for primary production. Although this approach was ability to provide regulating and cultural services. Because of the difficulty of using traditional may literally be irreplaceable. Here we propose to consider both species delivered individually. in particular. from characterised by the component populations. analogous to the existing EU Habitat Directive that delineates the strategy and targets of biodiversity conservation in Europe. would We have used the classification of ecosystem services serve as a draft proposal for such an Annex. which would require Member States to give explicit One challenging option to encourage land use targeted attention to the broad consequences of existing and to the delivery of ecosystem service would be a special EU proposed forms of ecosystem management. landscapes are prime examples. • Annex 2. which represents a subset of to recognise this discrepancy and to provide direct ecosystem services as discussed here. In contrast. A parallel concept is by human activity: intensive agriculture and urban that of Ecosystem Service Providers by Kremen (2005).There is an urgent need therefore to provide incentives to these methods into economic planning processes. and there is annexes to the Directive need to be developed: an urgent need for research to determine how great a loss of biodiversity can be experienced before service delivery • Annex 1. There is therefore an urgent need for European policies In the narrow case of water.3 Recommendations: what is it sensible to the Habitat Directive focuses mainly on biodiversity per se do now? as a cultural service and does not consider the functional role of biodiversity. the Ecosystem less so for protection from natural hazards. Management of an ecosystem for that are critically important as providers of particular provisioning services. Service providing units are populations between services. there has been little attempt to incorporate the basis for urgent discussion on its feasibility. population-centric. and there are therefore trade-offs et al. Table 1. although the relative importance will vary from critically important in particular regions of Europe system to system. This focus on a produce them. an alternative regulatory framework is needed. We submit this report as now available. whose The importance of biodiversity varies greatly among Annexes (Annex 1 ‘Habitat types of Community interest’ services. species. few provisioning services has arisen because the goods produced in such systems can easily be valued by typical The establishment of a new EU directive is a political market mechanisms. should move to creating an Ecosystem Services Directive. and Annex 2 ‘Species of Community interest’) set the nutrient cycling and pollination. such as nutrient cycling owing to the services they deliver. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 27 . are complementary: enhancing one will also enhance the other. Luck pragmatically suggested that the concept could be extended beyond the population level Many ecosystems have been profoundly affected to include ecological communities. even managers of land and water to ensure the maintenance though many of the currently unvalued services are of of the broad range of services from the ecosystems that fundamental importance to the survival of society and they manage. consequently. Like the Habitat Directive. but also worldwide.1) and ecosystems (Annex 2. however. an Ecosystem Services Directive The research that has been assessed in this report would aim to create a strategy for the conservation and demonstrates that both the quality and quantity of maintenance of ecosystem functions and the services biodiversity are important for maintaining the health of ecosystems provide not only for the European population. economic instruments to achieve this goal. is diminished. and primary production. We propose that two technical ecosystem services is only partly understood. are The concept of Service Providing Units comes from Luck potentially conflicting. a range of other services.2) that are services. We believe that the EU manner. All ecosystems provide multiple (Annex 2. which would need to be based on thorough markets and although effective ways of valuing them are scientific analysis and evidence. as set out in Chapter 4. Some services. Others. carbon storage for climate regulation through water functional groups or habitat types that collectively quality to cultural services. The way in Services Directive might establish the priorities with the which biodiversity ensures the processes that underlie help of two Annexes. Ecosystem Services Directive. the EU has tackled support to the maintenance of healthy ecosystems able to the problem by a set of binding legal requirements. the other services lack decision. Although 5. but much priority targets of biodiversity conservation. ecosystems and their ability to deliver services to society. ‘Key ecosystem services of Community declines. In intensive agriculture. the continue to deliver key ecosystem services in a sustainable Water Framework Directive. which suggests that the services provided by ecosystems the focus is exclusively on production of food (or other are ecosystem-wide or community attributes that can be produce). for example. tends to reduce their ecosystem services. proposed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. ‘Service providing units of Community but it should not be imagined that these services are interest’. (2003). especially focussing on services categorised as having high value for the EU. interest’.

28 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

Ecosystems 8. Background Study Paper No. Ph et al. Forest remnants along systems. Economic reasons for Folke. Wildlife–Countryside Section. JM. Integrity. M. N). (2005). 6 –12 Ives. I (2008). Commission for Genetic Resources for Food and Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. FAO: Rome doi:10. 5–11 Forest Ecology Management 195 165–176 Lavelle. DU et al. and to sub-Saharan Africa. Gaston. JM & Steffan- from biodiversity. GS et al. 529–533 for Underutilised Crops: Colombo. T (2002). Current State and Trends. Kapos. HH (2004). Carbon cycling in earth systems – a trends in Europe: development and testing of a species soil science perspective. IUCN: Morges enhancement of agricultural production by restoration of biodiversity. 293–301 knowledge. A et al. Functional group diversity of bee Being. Children living in areas with food and agriculture. C (2005). (2005). 34. H & Höschle-Zeledon. T.1136/jech. Defra: London Kuuluvainen. Holling CS & Perrings C. Managing ecosystem services: what do we need to know about their ecology? Ecology Defra (2007). Oxford University Press: Oxford Fears R (2007). (2005). James. 43–52 de Heer. M. 1146 –1156 farm households. Ecology Letters 9. Effects of forest cutting and Estes. 388–395 urban–rural gradients: examining their potential for global change research. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 360. Effects of biodiversity Bolund. (2006). Proceedings of the Royal Ecosystem Assessment (eds Hassan.References Balmford. (1997). Springer Verlag Likens GE et al. and the human scale. Tscharntke. International Centre Nature 437. C & Colding. Ecological Economics 29. (2002). volume 1. 75–100 Loreau. Dewenter. and Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species: Rome. T. Science 297. community ecological paradigm. stability and forests: defining the ecological basis of restoration and management of protection forests in the European Alps. K & Balmford. BJE (2005). A global species assessment. Ecological Monographs 75. 568–582 Jaenicke. 3–35 Bullock. P & Hunhammar. 297–308 Kremen. (2006). Genomic and genetic resources for Lovasi. European Journal of Soil Biology 42. Ecological Monographs 40. Strategic framework for underutilized plant species research and Ciais. Millennium pollinators increases crop yield. S3–S15 In: Encyclopedia of Ecology.H. DO (1995). The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. P et al. 468– 479 services. A (2001). Use and potential of wild plants in services. Sri Lanka. Agriculture. Biological conserving wild nature. R. S (1999). more street trees have lower asthma prevalence. CE (2005). Biodiversity Janzen. ecosystems. Soil invertebrates and ecosystem Elmqvist. Urban systems. (2008). American Naturalist 159. C. MM & Tripler. J (2008). with special reference to Asia and the productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003. R et al. DC. The economics of Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: synthesis and ecosystems and biodiversity perspectives. Pywell. V & ten Brink. AJ et al. LKA et al. JA & Duggins. P et al. JB (2002). management of biodiversity.071894 EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 29 . Quantifying the evidence for biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning and Heywood. A. KJ (2007). P. P (eds) (2002). 2283–2291 Ash. Pacific. Ecological Monographs 23– 47 65. I (eds) (2006). Sea otters and herbicide treatment on nutrient budgets in Hubbard kelp forests in Alaska – generality and variation in a Brook watershed-ecosystem. FAO: Rome Beattie. 399– 417 2010 target. Ecosystem services in on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current urban areas. Silva Fennica 36. New products and industries Hoehn. RF & Walker. Agriculture. Italy Costanza. 950 –953 diversity. R & Society of London B 275. An introductory guide to valuing ecosystem Letters 8. Alfsen. In: Ecosystems and Human Well. V. Nature 387. 815 pages Hooper. Can we afford 253–260 to conserve biodiversity? BioScience 51. Disturbance dynamics in boreal Dorren. Tylianakis. AR & Hughes. services. (1999). (1970). Scholes. Ecological Applications 6. Ecosystems and trend indicator for evaluating progress towards the Environment 104. Journal of Applied Ecology 44. General relationships between species diversity and stability in competitive Carreiro. (1996). S & Inchausti. Long-term IUCN (2004). (2004). Naeem. Island Press: Washington. Europe-wide reduction in primary development. 1018–1024 Balvanera. European Communities (2008).2007.

vulnerability to global change in Europe. 11376 –11381 Rounsevell. DC Reich. T. JA et al. 6931– 6933 channel management in Mediterranean environments of southern Europe. The historical organisms and ecosystem functioning: implications and socio-economic perspective of calcareous for ecosystem resilience and management. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18.Luck GW et al. K & Bishop. G) 151–174. H (2006). Changes in European ecosystem of the British and Irish flora. UK Smith P (2004). Do we really care about biodiversity? Schröter. P et al. 6. (2003). E & Smith. Pleininger. Landscape-scale genetic variation Pounds. World Bank groundwater-fed open ditches in a peatland. I (2007). 290 Pagiola. Global Change Biology 13. Species and functional group diversity independently influence biomass accumulation New Carbon Finance (2008). W & Davies. KE et al. 1770 –1774 the use of economic instruments in promoting the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. State of the voluntary and its response to CO2 and N. D et al. Proceedings of the carbon markets 2008 National Academy of Sciences of the USA 101. past and present. 499–515 Norberg. Population diversity and Poschlod. New atlas Morales. TH et al. 212–218 land-use and nature conservation in European rural landscapes. Sterling. P & WallisDeVries. In Nature’s services: Applications 17. JP & Kahmen. J and Moberg. Phosphorus balance of contrasting farming systems. R & Ehrlich. M & Trepel. Thuiller. Science 287. MDA. land use and its impact on biodiversity. 87–98 Biological Conservation 104. Suppressive service OECD: Paris. Molecular Ecology 16. EI (1997). (2006). G (2006). (2006). Öckinger. Journal of Applied Environmental Science and Policy 9. 29– 45 Pearce. (2007). (2007). (2005). Cambridge. warming. (2001). Pearman DA & Dines TD (2002). SM & Moore. insects in agricultural landscapes. NJ (2001). 93–100 Ecology 44. Mobile link Poschlod. Southwood. Plant-trait-based modeling assessment of ecosystem- Naylor. Hydraulic characteristics of economic value of ecosystem conservation. Erosion. Widespread amphibian in a forest outbreak species. pollination services: are there general patterns? Ecology 1334 –1347 Letters 11. Progress in Physical Geography 21. Ecological control services in agriculture. The economics of climate change. Journal of Nematology 38. (2000). The value of natural pest service sensitivity to land-use change. (2008). Phonotypic diversity and Rojstaczer. PM. Landscape effects on crop be sustainable? Journal of Applied Ecology 34. U and Swanson. A. Semi-natural Future environmental change impacts on rural land use grasslands as population sources for pollinating and biodiversity: a synthesis of the ACCELERATES project. PB et al. flooding and USA 103. S. P. Science 310. S & Ferris. Ecosystems grasslands – lessons from the distant and recent past. of the soil food web. & Harrison. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the Poesen JWA & Hooke JM (1997). Human ecosystem functioning in changing environments: a appropriation of photosynthesis products. PA (2006). MF (2002). theoretical framework. Environmental Science and Policy 9. HG (2007). DC Engineering 23. N (2007). F & Spek. S. the mountain pine beetle extinctions from epidemic disease driven by global (Dendroctonus ponderosae). Global biodiversity scenarios for OECD (2004). 93–98 Lundberg. 157–199 Cambridge University Press 30 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . S. 161–167 553–568 Preston CD. von Ritter. M (2004). 317–321 Observations on related ecological exponents. Lavorel. Basic and Applied 331–336 Ecology 6. Cambridge University 1333–1337 Press. T). OE et al. F. J et al. Oxford University Press productivity and carbon balance driven by regional climate model output. F (2003). Hochtl. S (2005). May. Bakker. Island Press: Washington. Soils as carbon sinks – the global context. Recommendation of the Council on the year 2100. Berry. Pascual. Ecosystem service supply and In Frontiers in Biodiversity Economics (eds Kontoleon. Stern. Sánchez-Moreno. Proceedings of the National 2549–2552 Academy of Sciences of the USA 98. 2377–2386 societal dependence on natural ecosystems (ed Daly. J (2004). Can food production Ricketts. 108–122 Quetier. 361–376 Mock. T (2006). Nature 439. Traditional Soil Use and Management 20. TRE. Changing ecosystem services. RM & Sugihara. 10101–10106 Newman. Assessing the Scholz. 50 –59 Sala. Science 294. (2004). P (1997). D. Ecological Environment Department: Washington.

PM & Walker. Mooney HA. Global research on underutilized crops: an assessment of current activities Tilman. 145–148 Williams. Biological invasion Tella. PM. Payments for environmental services: and Thies. TA) 225–241. 593– 604 Wall. CD et al. In Terborgh. Science 294. M (2004). Vitousek. Conflicts between lesser kestrel conservation and ecosystem effects. (2004). Forero. ICUC: in grasslands. I Wunder. Ecosystems & Environment 104. 494 – 499 Agriculture. (2005). W et al. JA (1998). A. Extinction risk from climate change. RA (2000). by Myrica faya: Plant demography. J et al. Ecological Monographs 59.Swift. Landscape perspectives on some nuts and bolts. Biodiversity and stability and proposals for enhanced cooperation. Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. 247–265 European agricultural policies as identified by habitat use analyses. (2001). The world beneath our feet: soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. 363–365 Southampton Tscharntke. LR (1989). JL. Klein. Steffan-Dewenter. MG. Hiraldo. DH & Virginia. Bioengineering for pollution prevention through development of biobased materials and energy. DC EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 31 . CIFOR. nitrogen fixation. Nature 427. Nature 367. Occasional Paper No. 253–260 US Environmental Protection Agency (2007). 857– 874 Zhang. A-MN and van Noordwijk. Lubchenco J & Melillo JM Biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural (1997). A M. Ecosystem services and dis- services to agriculture. State-of-the-science report. 1923–1926 World (eds Raven. Ecological Economics 64. P & Williams. Ecology Letters 8. JA (1994). J & Haq. US Environmental Protection Agency: Washington.42 agricultural intensification and biodiversity – ecosystem service management. T. National Academy of Sciences Press Thomas. Kruess. N (2002). C (2005). Izac. landscapes – are we asking the right questions? Science 277. Ecological meltdown in Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable predator-free forest fragments. Conservation Biology 12. MJ. F & Donazar. 113–134 Vitousek. D & Downing. (2007). S.

32 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

Europe (Araújo 2003). Europe. the restoration of photosynthesis and is a fundamental biosphere property biodiversity in marine systems has also been shown to that forms the basis of all ecosystem processes. which are also those with resource augmentation is normally associated with high greatest biodiversity. leading to a relationship fertilisers. which are generally not between population density and biodiversity across sustainable. They predict that a 1% change in biodiversity results in a 0. evidence of an effect of biodiversity on productivity. 2006): in a meta-analysis General significance of published experimental data. timber and fibre tends to In intensively managed and disturbed ecosystems. biodiversity variation is especially strong in the north and in arid as such may play a small role in controlling productivity. history. be higher in areas with high net primary production. for example heavily fertilised generally increase with net primary production. However. controlled-environment and small. 2006). seasonal. Lawton et al. Evidence for a positive association between the diversity and large-scale field studies (see. within the temperature ranges in which most of the world’s biodiversity is found. There are very strong spatio-temporal gradients in productivity is therefore often hard to discern (Pärtel et al. human population density also correlates systems requires large inputs of resource. 1995. At broad spatial scales. production shows marked global variation. biodiversity and associated services of very low diversity. biodiversity in maintaining productivity. They are characterised by patterns of biodiversity. Much reported higher productivity in biodiverse tree plantations of the active debate about the impact of variations in in the tropics. Naeem of functional types and productivity is particularly strong et al. either environmentally or economically.). Biodiversity is also associated with enhanced productivity in marine systems (Worm et al. and specifically their diversity ecosystems and suggested that the influence of diversity in the case of earthworms (Lavelle et al. The on productivity is weak when examined at small spatial enhancement of primary production might be the result scales. caused in terrestrial systems by patterns of precipitation. in The single largest body of evidence relating diversity to an an eight-year study. 1998). and maximum productivity is typically achieved in systems that at global scales. latitudinal and altitudinal. in relation to soils. The assimilation of energy and nutrients by organisms. Primary increase productivity substantially. Perhaps monocultures. Similarly. The evidence includes theoretical. (2007) suggest that terrestrial and typically the diversity of functional groups is more net primary productivity can be used as a proxy for several important. note that the output of food. The primary driver of biodiversity in mature natural temperature and geology. Tilman et al. (2007) reported positive effects of increased species Role of biodiversity richness on ecosystem productivity in restored grasslands on a range of soil types across southern England. Bullock et al. Supporting services et al. A meta-analysis of published studies found clear of increased release of nutrients from decomposition. the maintenance of these unsurprisingly. 1997. regions. Potvin & Gotelli (2008) ecosystem process concerns primary production. for example. people tend to live Sustained high production without anthropogenic in the most productive areas. if the effects of temperature and long timescales and changes may be slow to take effect. 1996. levels of biodiversity in mature ecosystems. including with primary productivity. Richmond et al. other ecosystem services and. In many mature natural ecosystems.Annex 1 Assessment of the current state of knowledge about European biodiversity and ecosystem services Ecosystem services the effect was strongest at the same trophic level as that where biodiversity was measured (Balvanera A. following Gaston (2000).5% change in A1 Primary production the value of ecosystem services. 2006). suggesting that increasing plantation biodiversity for ecosystem function and the consequent diversity may be a viable strategy for both timber yields output of ecosystem services concerns the role of and biodiversity conservation. Costanza et al. Many experiments have shown but there are few data from mature natural ecosystems: significant enhancements of plant production owing to Grace et al. biocides and water. and in marine systems ecosystems is frequently the legacy of evolutionary principally by nutrient supply (upwellings. In other words. precipitation were taken into account. Seasonal 2007). dust deposition. increased biodiversity of both primary producers and consumers enhanced Primary production is largely determined by the ecosystem processes examined. (2007) compared a large set of natural the presence of soil animals. the relationship between diversity and etc. (2007) showed that over half of the spatial variation in These are the basic services that make the production of net productivity in North America could be explained by all the other services possible. and enhancement of mutualistic micro-organisms (van der EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 33 .

Particular Maintaining primary production of agricultural. They argue that the diversity of functional tourism alongside traditional agricultural livelihoods. water quality and 2005) concluded that certain combinations of species other goods.Heijden et al. dry economic variables to be examined. see section on provisioning disproportionately to the maintenance of productivity. the harvesting of significant amounts of biomass (and hence nutrients) at regular intervals. over other ecosystem services: high levels of fertiliser input supported by Common Agricultural Policy thresholds A recent extensive and detailed review (Hooper et al. etc. Policy implications The mechanisms underlying the reported relationship between diversity and productivity are unclear. similar processes (Bradford et al. natural species may play key roles in communities that allow the and semi-natural ecosystems is essential for achieving maintenance of high levels of productivity. Bullock et al. productivity (notably nitrogen and phosphorus) is 34 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . productivity is likely to decline phosphorus. current policy offers incentives for a phenomenon known as a ‘sampling effect’ (Huston & unsustainable practices that often prioritise production McBride 2002). Evidence for role played by biodiversity is stronger here Ecosystems involved than for most other services. Locally. notably nitrogen and On a large spatial scale. services). possibly nutrient-poor environments. including nitrogen-fixing plants or mutualistic symbionts. Availability of nutrients that determine regions owing to an extended growing season. 1985. 2005). Numerous small-scale experiments have produced largely consistent results. including grasslands and forests. agricultural biodiverse communities are inherently more likely production. (2007) suggest that the re-creation the key controls on ecosystem properties. A All ecosystems contain and depend upon primary major research need is for large-scale experiments with producers. productivity and ecosystem properties ecosystems generally have low productivity. in which productivity is strongly linked to biodiversity may and there is an urgent need to clarify the mechanisms by include those under management regimes that involve which diversity can enhance productivity. result in reductions in biodiversity. Ecosystems such as stability and resilience also remain to be resolved. fibre. The highest productivity is typically found in natural species assemblages that allow impacts of changes warmer and wetter regions of Europe. Loss of biodiversity due because that the exceptional diversity of soil organisms to land management practices may render ecosystems and the relatively low degree of specialisation in many less resilient to impacts of climate change (for example groups means that many different species can perform drought). experimentally or unintended pollution) will increase production. respiration and net ecosystem production (Ingham which causes local extinction of species adapted to et al. owing to increased prevalence and severity of drought in parts of southern Europe: the severe heatwave of 2003 General significance resulted in a Europe-wide decline in primary production (Ciais et al. Cold (alpine. Fitter et al. Air pollution associated with Nutrient cycling is a key process in both terrestrial heatwaves will also reduce productivity locally. Arctic). A2 Nutrient cycling European concerns/context The distribution throughout the ecosphere of the elements essential to life. for traits in the species making up a community is one of example. 1998). More carbon sequestration in soils and vegetation. 2006). 2002. However. and increased nutrient supply (either by deliberate fertilisation effects on soil physical structure. Liiri et al. However. 2002. and the loss of individual species. and aquatic systems and is essential for maintenance productivity may increase in the north and in alpine of fertility. protection against diseases. The relationships (some Mediterranean) and infertile (some sandy soils) between diversity. for example several life-support services and policy goals. Achieving good levels of agricultural are complementary in their patterns of resource use and productivity in biodiverse systems will be important in can increase average rates of productivity and nutrient economic development of rural areas to encourage retention. with removing key taxonomic groups from soil food webs benefit in agricultural systems but potentially serious often has little impact on rates of processes such as soil damage to natural ecosystems through eutrophication. 2005). Wertz et al. if the diversity of species in the ecosystem encompasses a variety of functional Research needs response types. and that (or preservation) of diverse grasslands of conservation the redundancy of functional traits and responses in value can increase hay yield over the long term. and use of land for other productive to contain such key species or those that contribute purposes (fuel. However. which will ecosystems may act as an ‘insurance’ against disturbance enhance farm incomes. and on younger in production on other ecosystem processes and socio- and inherently more fertile soils.

the latter being an especially different species are typically implicated. as a result of when management interventions are contemplated. Engelhardt & Ritchie (2001. functional group (spring ephemerals). In marine systems. and in the construction of reed-beds. productivity due to low rates of cycling (for example in peat soils). in which biodiversity is known to play a large role. Biological nitrogen fixation accounts are involved in the conversion of ammonium to nitrate for around half of all nitrogen fixation worldwide. nitrogen fertiliser in the nitrogen cycle. often involving complex biochemistry. phosphate fertiliser is routinely added in cycling may depend on diversity of plant communities intensive agricultural systems. because of both the direct uptake of decomposition determine both productivity and nutrients and the feedback effects of plants on soil atmospheric composition. cycling microbial dynamics and consequent changes in nutrient is determined by a balance of rates of input from land. Some key nutrient cycling processes (for example nitrification) are performed by a few key species. Nitrogen is the major fertiliser in intensive agriculture. large numbers of bacterial species is increasingly expensive (about 90% of the cost is (both symbiotic and free-living) are capable of fixation energy. many ammonia and nitrous oxide. Niklaus et al. for example. of the cycle is closely linked to productivity. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 35 . there are others (for example decomposition and the rate at which nutrients cycle: some ecosystems of cellulose cell walls) that can be performed by a with very large stocks (for example of organic nitrogen broad range of species. Diverse systems appear to be In many processes within nutrient cycles. by sedimentation. fluxes (Hooper & Vitousek 1997. Nutrient increases in plant available nutrients. and mycorrhizal fungi are the main route of phosphorus Mabry et al. In natural ecosystems. others not sustainable. water. run-off. typically from gas) and supplies are therefore of di-nitrogen gas (N2) from the atmosphere. Barrios (2007). especially nitrogen. It is particularly important to understand and land productivity. 2007). in reviewing the shallow lakes). The ability of vegetation to capture and store nutrients Lorenzen (2008) found that diversity of plant functional is widely exploited in. and phosphorus through arbuscular carbon). and severely limits the nitrogen cycle (Knights et al. although at rates of application that typically result in large Because nutrient cycles include numerous transformations losses of nitrogen to water and to the atmosphere. symbiotic which cool-season (C3) grasses had been removed. emphasised positive impacts the capacity of ecosystems to sequester nutrients of microbial symbionts on crop yield. Soil nutrient availability itself affects into biomass and its return to the atmosphere through plant diversity. Symstad & Tilman (2001) found a higher rate of added phosphate is recovered in crops. However. Ecosystems may act as large stores importance of the soil biota for ecosystem services of nutrients. Role of biodiversity with often dramatic impacts on crop yield. thereby aiding the water purification service. (2008) reported greater capacity of natural transfer from soil to plant. In nutrients in the ecosystem (including the atmosphere) contrast. For example. as part of water purification measures. as of elements. and Scherer. 1998). fixation from atmospheric pools. and (nitrification) and the release of ammonium from organic sustainable agricultural systems will increasingly rely on matter during decomposition. compared with disturbed woodland missing one possibly. and upwelling and loss 2001). owing to its of nitrogen loss by leaching from a community from strong fixation by soils. Decomposition Sustainable agricultural systems will need to make greater rate is also susceptible to variation in plant biodiversity: use of mycorrhizal fungi. increased flowering plant diversity enhances productivity inhibits the growth of symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria and aids the retention of phosphorus in wetland systems. These Nutrient availability depends both on the stock of are defined by Schimel (1998) as ‘narrow processes’. whereas others with small stocks and Soil biodiversity has a particularly strong impact on rapid cycling may be highly productive (for example nutrient cycling. in these cases. and the diversity of mycorrhizal woodland to store nutrients and avoid leaching to surface fungi can regulate both plant diversity and nutrient and. rates of fixation of the element mycorrhizal fungi. whose diversity is currently very Chapman & Koch (2007) reported that decomposition low in arable systems (Helgason et al. the establishment of types determined decomposition rate in experimental buffer strips to protect water courses from agricultural grasslands. rate of needle litter in a coniferous forest ecosystem increased with plant species diversity. cycles are especially sensitive to disruption when the through biological nitrogen fixation by soil bacteria element has a large atmospheric pool (nitrogen and such as Rhizobium. but world supplies of and particularly on the presence of particular functional rock phosphate are restricted. Narrow processes may be more in organic matter in soil) may nevertheless have low susceptible to changes in biodiversity than broad ones. whereas the overall rate this process.determined by the rate of nutrient cycling. Nitrogen Similarly. and typically only 5–10% groups. 1998. water use efficiency (Brussaard et al. heavy-metal contamination. keystone species more effective in retaining nutrients within the ecosystem: are involved: for example. 2002) have shown that often resulting from use of sewage sludge on land. potent greenhouse gas. 2001).

land-quality monitoring systems that inform managers about their land’s ability to deliver ecosystem services. (2007). implemented at United Nations enormous quantities as the inert di-nitrogen gas in the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and EU levels atmosphere and is converted to a biologically useable to manage environmental acidification from air pollution form (ammonium) by bacteria. nitrogen European ecosystems and tends to be greatest in the early exceeds critical loads.Marrs et al. particularly. Although the impacts on nutrient cycling is progressively lost from soils as they mature. so that very are not captured in the current assessment of benefits old soils are the most phosphorus deficient. which inhibit nitrogen-fixing bacteria. causing both damage to water quality and economic losses on farms. either living independently could be expected to have a beneficial effect on nutrient or symbiotically in roots of some plants. of these policies. industrial and agricultural effluents in aquatic communities in soil responsible for processes of nutrient systems. 1045). calcium and magnesium than Biological nitrogen fixation is of enormous value in other vegetation components in the same habitats. nutrient cycling. phosphate may be the roles of different taxa in the delivery of these lost to watercourses. nitrogen (causing acidification and in heavily industrialised areas. because of the nutrient cycling services offered by ecosystems that are energetic requirements of the nutrient transformations not managed for production. growth and survival) depends on the diversity of the which has been shown to damage natural ecosystems. Disruption to nutrient cycles can be brought about by atmospheric deposition of nitrogen. roles of biodiversity and of particular ‘keystone’ species in Barrios (2007) has argued more generally that we need communities need to be looked at together. phosphorus. Robson and acid and metal pollution in the Czech Republic. However. denitrification. The development being released through run-off. which occurs in European policies. for example. the atmosphere) and phosphorus (in the soil). sulphur and Research needs sometimes metals to soils – through effects including acidification. stored in soils in organic form. Further progress to reduce sulphur stages of ecosystem development when little nitrogen is and nitrogen emissions. Policies 2007. A key element is nitrogen. and sequester the element. involved and the need for nutrients in all metabolic processes. inhibition of fixation – and We do not know whether the ability of microbial by sewage. especially for ‘narrow processes’. use change. conditions under the scenarios of climate change. This effect poses a of policies on sustainable agriculture will require greater dilemma for conservation policies. nitrogen. climate change or pollution alter the ability of and their potential effects on ecosystem function. As a agriculture and avoids large-scale addition of nitrogen result. Changes in • Understand the threshold of tolerance for extreme biodiversity of natural ecosystems brought about by land. genetic copper. It be achieved. In contrast. have shown that Policy implications bracken has a greater capacity to store carbon. (2006) recommends that there is a greater need to: Poland and other Member States. the source of will be needed if the aims of the EU and UNECE are to phosphorus in natural ecosystems is minerals in rocks. there remain large areas of Europe Biological nitrogen fixation is a major source of nitrogen in where deposition of sulphur and. suggesting ‘a need reliance on biological nitrogen fixation and on symbiotic to balance conservation goals against potential damage mycorrhizal fungi to gain access to stores of nitrogen (in to biogeochemical structure and function’ (Marrs et al. and support policy and decision-making: Nutrient cycling occurs in all ecosystems and is strongly currently no recognition is given in EU policies to the linked to productivity (section 1A). bracken control measures can result in nutrients fertilisers in many agricultural systems. resulting in release of example rates of soil process such as nutrient cycling nutrients to other ecosystems with potentially damaging or shifts in dominant ecosystem processes of primary consequences. These are major problems in the EU. cycling. p. cadmium). Ecosystems involved improve capacities to predict and adapt to environmental changes. particularly (causing acidification). in gas regulation and primary production. potassium. despite the ability of soils to retain processes in marine ecosystems. The example of bracken suggests that the that promote soil microbial diversity will be required. they remain an important additional benefit that should be included in future assessments. production and decomposition. The widespread use of sewage sludge as an agricultural fertiliser has resulted in • Develop models to assess the importance of factors contamination of soils by heavy metals (for example zinc. notably legumes. they have cycling to withstand anthropogenic inputs such as sulphur pronounced effects on natural ecosystems. and in consequence deposition. for ecosystems to retain nutrient stores. 36 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . for example those made by the International Institute for European concerns/context Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Classic examples include eutrophication) and metals (directly affecting microbial atmospheric nitrogen deposition in the UK and Holland. exchange and dispersal. and In intensively farmed landscapes. community.

Flood events are predicted in flow between wet and dry seasons. Jewitt 2002).Assimilation of current understanding of the impacts of Distinct pathways of water movement in the hydrological environmental acidity on nutrient cycling into integrated cycle have been encapsulated in the terms ‘green’ and assessment modelling would provide a further estimate of ‘blue’ water (Falkenmark et al. and of water supply. A3 Water cycling Green water is stored in the root zone of plants and is The distribution of water so that it is available to living the key to water and food security in drought-prone organisms throughout the ecosphere. water movements (compare with water regulation). and alters the blue:green balance. and the extent of biodiversity is likely to be important. Lavelle et al. Many of those impacts are the reduction in surface water runoff as a result of likely to be amplified through climate change. quality and variability changing in response to land use and climate change. Often runoff has Portugal. Subsequent work. and concluded that forests people. Riverine ecosystems are watersheds can affect quantity. of deficit of water and in some central European areas Zhang et al. Blue the value of policies to reduce acidic emissions in Europe. The balance of blue and green water affects critical feedbacks to the water cycle. 1994. for example) and the water cycle is the ease with which water penetrates long-term trends in precipitation and evaporation. 2006). 1990). local changes in flows. in southern especially from subsurface reservoirs. (2007) note that vegetation cover in upstream which are frequently flooded. caused in the regulation of those flows. Soil invertebrates play an projections of climate change do not encourage optimism important role in the delivery of ecosystem services by for the trajectory of change in much of southern Europe. influencing soil structure: invertebrates tend to decrease surface runoff by increasing surface roughness and Role of biodiversity structural porosity of soils (Flury et al. including water-borne disease vegetation and soil organisms have profound impacts on pathogens. Europe. especially in Eucalyptus globulus including deforestation. 2008). The soil. precipitation. 1997. and native flora for its various functions in the environment and uses for may be more efficient at retaining water than exotic people. mostly outside dams. Invasive plants may divert water resources: and engineering works. Humans have made larger changes than deciduous hardwoods on water massive changes in water cycles through drainage. Robinson et al. forests generally appear to stabilise water flow as water moves more rapidly to rivers and there is less (Armstrong et al. has confirmed this relationship. thereby reducing the differences groundwater recharge. of water include evaporation. For example. land drainage. to increase owing to climate change (compare with EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 37 . including a greater frequency active programmes to limit their spread. Although there is no consistent effect of forest of loss of their important ecosystem services is of concern. which invasive alien plants in South Africa may be equivalent to will result in different patterns of water movement both 7% of the national total (van Wilgen et al. but both for aquatic organisms. urbanisation plantations. regions. the flow of Bosch & Hewlett (1982) reviewed evidence from 94 water over and through land and the intervention of experimental catchments. water is the runoff originated from precipitation which generates stream flow at the land surface or forming base flow and groundwater recharge in the subsoil. other organisms and the physical environment dominated by coniferous trees or Eucalyptus spp. It affects the distribution of water Changes in species composition can affect the balance and the capability of natural processes to condition it between green and blue water yields. Wetlands may not necessarily increase absolute amounts of water and tidal transition ecosystems are threatened all over retained by the ecosystem: other vegetation may do just Europe by drought. all of which can affect agricultural many lowland rivers now suffer severe loss of base flow productivity. The Ecosystems involved influence that different types of habitat have on the rate of water flow through the hydrological system is widely The main problems in Europe arise in the south because cited in the literature on ecosystem services. The different processes involved in the cycling species. lakes and The water cycle is an important process in the overall water on the surface of leaves (Röckström et al. Flows of water in ecosystems also determine the Land use and landscape structure are more significant in network structure of rivers that act as ecological corridors maintaining this service than biodiversity per se. including the flow of water to the atmosphere both by transpiration from General significance vegetation and by evaporation from soil. (2006) reported significant become more rapid owing to changes in landscapes. A key control on of extreme events (storms or droughts. the increased runoff strongly dependent on the availability of soil water. management on storm runoff and erosion (Sidle et al. supply after planting. They suggest that maintaining forest cover as a result of water abstraction for irrigation. management of water. despite spatially and temporally. 1999). and the risk as well. Urban areas with sealed surfaces provide new challenges 2007). structural changes to rivers and water abstraction. Where penetration is low due to compaction or dynamics of ecosystems in arid and semiarid climates are development of surface crusts. drainage or sea-level rise.

Rates of soil Research needs formation vary greatly. Soil formation is a continuous process.04 – 0. This major policy initiative covers both surface water and groundwater and has at its core the link between Soil formation is fundamental to soil fertility. fibres and fuel. with further study. loss of soil biota may vegetation will respond to changes in climate and on reduce soil formation rate with damaging consequences. Soil between numbers of species and the activity or extent of formation involves the conversion of a mineral matrix. again there are key taxa. However. Soils example after glaciation). There is a lack of empirical evidence the early stages after land surfaces are exposed (for on the role of biodiversity per se in soil formation. Even there are important gaps in knowledge on how without accelerated loss by erosion. The best example of The formation of soil at a rate sufficient to support a ecosystem engineering in soil is earthworms: by mixing range of provisioning services. Although it is known that soil biota nutritional and structural consequences for soil. but at Directive and emerging biodiversity policy. and deep-rooted species which can bring nutrient Soil formation is a continuous process in all terrestrial elements from the parent material and relocate them ecosystems but is particularly important and active in to surface layers. A active research on the relationship between vegetation major issue for current agricultural methods is that they structure and soil moisture distributions affecting accelerate soil loss rates to as high as 4 mm yr−1. location and vegetation. such as legumes for their ability to fix General significance atmospheric nitrogen and build up soil nitrogen stores. in which chemical and biological transformations take place. of biodiversity. food.08 mm yr−1. especially water cycling and the ecological status of catchments. Agriculture in northern ecological status within catchments. including the provision of soil. Vegetation is also important in soil formation. Some species or groups of species A4 Soil formation (‘ecosystem engineers’) have the ability to transform the structure of the ecosystem. for example by removal of organic residues so that The role of form and function of water pathways and organic carbon incorporation into soil is less than the rate their ecological corridors on biodiversity also needs of decomposition. ecosystem functions and processes. organisms. determine a range of soil properties that play key roles in the water cycle. Soil is also lost by natural support the linkage between the EU Water Framework processes of erosion. topography and climate. EU Member States have and depends on the activity of plants and associated begun to implement the Water Framework Directive. ways. and especially Intensive agriculture can also reduce soil quality in other the particular role of invasive species.02 mm yr−1. and solid. but typically lie in the range Studies of the importance of biodiversity at catchment 0. The process of soil formation is are among the richest environments on Earth in terms highly dependent on the nature of the parent materials. depending on rock type. water cycling that will give essential added definition recently developing after deglaciation. up to composition and groundwater recharge. leading to reduced soil carbon. the impact of functional group Role of biodiversity diversity or keystone species is not known and hence the significance of the biodiversity of the soil community Soil biodiversity is a major factor in soil formation: key cannot be assessed. climate. and consequently to the objectives of the WFD is a policy to manage are able to maintain supplies of essential nutrients from green water – the water needed for the maintenance of parent materials in the face of continuous depletion. A further development in the where cultivation has been continuous for long periods. including bacteria. liquid and gas phases. taxa have large influence. 100 times faster than the rate of soil production. they radically alter its structure and its properties. Nevertheless. but there may be no simple relationship biological processes. on water fluxes. Responses to water deficit are which has limited capacity to support nutrient cycles. the composition of biological 38 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . where processes leading to soil destruction or degradation Member States are under obligations to ensure good (erosion. which would create soil at a rate level in maintaining overall ecological status would of less than 1 cm per century. components. understanding of the links between biodiversity and One of the reasons for this is that the soils are young. There is a much slower rate. soil processes. by both wind and water. Policy implications The progressive accumulation of organic materials is characteristic of the development of most soils In a major new development. pollution) are active. increasingly reliant on fossil water stores. with consequent into a complex medium with both inorganic and organic issues of the sustainability of water cycles. fungi and invertebrates.water regulation below). typically about 0. which creates a and central Europe has been resilient to the decline in major locus for assessments of ecological status and productivity encountered in many regions of the world water cycling. the importance of species composition.

At an intermediate scale. and both the gross and fine structure of the soil is determined by biological Soil conservation policies are needed to ensure that soil activity.000 –20. The separation of soil into horizons is determined stocks are retained. also apply here. however. 1997. Usher et al. 2006). sometimes with damaging impacts on have increasing focus on hot spots of activity by soil soil fertility. erosion. these will be found. At a fine scale. environmental changes on biodiversity and ecosystem gravel deposits. will stages (10. (2004) have argued that a better understanding driven processes of soil formation. symbiotic with plant roots. if lost. into fine units can rapidly be reconstructed into the large The above-ground consequences of soil biodiversity aggregates that promote many soil functions by endogeic are strongly dependent on context. for example the rhizosphere and soil carbon pools.). water Barrios (2007) suggests that future studies linking soil flow and aeration. Lavelle & Spain 2001). which are the most abundant fungi in most soils. by wind or water. 2004). and need to be broadened to include by interactions between physical processes. badly eroded (Poesen & Hooke 1997). has older soils with lower is essential is the presence and activity of a range of resilience that have suffered severe damage and are often functional types. Because of this. which. such as the types of earthworm activity (Lavelle et al. such as soil ‘health’ guidelines that recognise the importance leaching.000 years) of post-glacial recovery. is of central importance (Miller & Research needs Jastrow 2000). Policy root exudation. and that this soils with seasonal vegetation cover. organisms (Brussaard et al. and the activity of mycorrhizal fungi. Much of this structure is destroyed biota to soil processes and ecosystem services should by cultivation. soil organism considered. (2006) suggest that a research priority is the need to determine whether there are particular Northern European ecosystems are still in the early keystone species among the soil biota. it has been suggested that new insights from studies on interactions between Soil formation occurs in all terrestrial ecosystems. A large part the organic material in many soils derives Policy implications from the faeces of soil animals. Much of the EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 39 . may require the characterisation of the functional groups of organisms necessary to maintain specific ecosystem European concerns services. lava. where reconstruction of the soil profile and soil fertility again depend on the biologically Swift et al. high rates of erosion may be countered by high rates of soil Soil structure depends on the activity of a wide range of development. irreversibly damage the soil. such as worm activity and of soil biological processes in the creation of soil.communities has been shown to be important: what Mediterranean region. There will be interventions in restoration and conservation efforts particular concerns about soils that are subject to intense (Wardle et al. structure may depend implications discussed under nutrient cycling (section A2) on fungal mycelia. In alpine areas. Is there some stress threshold and consequently soils are often resilient to intensive beyond which soil function will be irretrievably impaired? agricultural use (Newman 1997). and biological ones. burrows created by soil animals can act as channels for root growth. where the build-up of soil fertility properties and to enhance the efficiency of human depends entirely on biological processes. etc. It is of above-ground and below-ground should be used to especial importance in ecosystems that are developing improve our predictions of the effects of human-induced on newly exposed or created substrates (moraines. a soil whose structure has previously broken biota. and on sandy organic materials from which it is synthesised. the role of plant species in a community (dominant versus rare or subordinate species) Ecosystems involved and site fertility. for is needed of the ways in which the functional properties example. where arable agriculture is practised on slopes of soil organic matter are influenced by the diversity of with inadequate conservation measures.

40 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

The most An additional issue is the impact of vegetation on promising measures include: higher organic matter inputs albedo – the reflection of incident radiation by land on arable land. especially those covered by trees) on former arable land used for conservation or evergreen forest. greater warming effect than any reduction resulting from and the introduction of zero or conservation tillage. carbon is a particular issue in Europe. factors interact in the regulation of climate. rising combustion of fossil fuels. Dark surfaces. In addition to the consequences for gas (CO2) is absorbed directly by water and indirectly atmospheric CO2 concentration. such declines have (through photosynthesis) by vegetation. effect’ that keeps the surface of the planet at a Nevertheless. notably water ecosystems (Janzen 2004). vegetation which in turn lead to changes in the carbon cycle (Worrall et al. When major change occurs in ecosystems. 2004). In recent years climate has been terrestrial ecosystems is the soil. thus reducing the fungal hyphae and bacterial mucilages are more labile amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. absorb more radiation than light ones. This capacity could be increased: systems play a key role in climate regulation through carbon sequestration in cultivated soils in Europe could physical absorption of CO2. At a finer scale. largely of carbon in stable aggregates depends on the activity by intercepting and scattering radiation and by acting of the soil fauna: the aggregates formed by networks of as cloud condensation nuclei. absorption capacity. The role of ecosystems in managing levels of climate Role of biodiversity forcing gases in the atmosphere. for example. the introduction of perennials (grasses. 2004). The role of aerosols Practices designed to improve the agricultural productivity emitted by vegetation in ‘dimming’ solar radiation of peatlands can lead to changes in the above ground remains to be quantified. notably methane (CH4) and nitrous to 7–12% of the 1995 anthropogenic carbon emissions oxide (N2O) are regulated by soil microbes. Forests are Benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem therefore simultaneously sinks for CO2. and the impact of increased forest growth on climate change is complex B1 Climate regulation (Kulmala et al. The mechanism for this is well into the atmosphere is absorbed by oceans and terrestrial understood: trace gases in the atmosphere. the global carbon cycle is strongly buffered. absorb infra-red radiation that the rate of emissions increasingly exceeds this emitted from the Earth as it is heated by solar radiation. Marine (Janssens et al. raising of water tables in farmed peatland. Numerous anthropogenic damage to ecosystem function. the expansion of organic (or at least low Consequently. Smith 2004b). carbon fixation and through aerosol production. dust and aerosols Globally. Other of between 135 and 205 gigatonnes per year. The production of aerosols by marine systems is well 2006). areas with high carbon sequestering potential. Disruption of these communities by cultivation and understood and has been taken into account in climate loss of soil fauna due to soil degradation will therefore models. there is increasing evidence that forests reduce soil capacity to sequester carbon. leading to obvious implications for the productivity of soils and their storage in biomass and in soils as organic matter. afforestation of boreal zones may have a input) farming. 16% in soils under permanent managed principally as a result of changes in land use and rapidly grassland. which is being reduced still further by and hence effectively warm the atmosphere. However. 2003). The major greenhouse semi-natural land. The problem we face is vapour and carbon dioxide. the time lags in the feedbacks on ecosystem Climate is regulated on Earth by a natural ‘greenhouse processes that result are important and unresolved. if the management change Acidification of the seas resulting from increased were permanent (Freibauer et al. 2004) and focussed on dissolution of CO2 will have an impact on these processes. enhanced carbon sequestration. equivalent greenhouse gases. and 23% in soils on agriculturally managed. which can form aerosol particles. biofuel purposes. including the reflection of solar radiation by clouds. than those formed in earthworm casts (Lavelle et al. sequestration Aerosols have a profound effect on climate. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 41 . the vulnerability to the erosion hazard. Regulating services emit substantial amounts of biogenic volatile organic compounds. It has been estimated that since 1980 the organic carbon content Current change is largely driven by increases in the has declined on average by 15% in arable and rotational concentrations of trace gases in the atmosphere. ability of soils to store carbon is a major regulator Europe’s terrestrial biosphere represents a net carbon sink of climate (Post & Kwon 2000) after ‘climate. The interplay between biodiversity and climate regulation General significance is poorly understood. sources of aerosol processes. particles and determinants of albedo. through photosynthetic double under improved management practices (see. grass soils. The loss of soil organic changing and the Earth is becoming warmer. surfaces. the largest pool of actively cycling carbon in in the atmosphere. temperature conducive to the development and in that much of the CO2 discharged by human activities maintenance of life.B.

sequestration and aerosol emission. which produce the that of all terrestrial systems. (2006) found lower N2O There are other new pressures on soils which require emission rates from the soil of experimental systems assessment as part of an overall system for managing with higher plant diversity. In global terms. Similarly. the oceans contain the largest reserves Policy implications of carbon. but to widely varying extents. and soils across Europe therefore vary in play an important role in trace gas (methane. each year over the past 25 years (Bellamy et al. but renewable energy. Marine ecosystems also a significant contribution to future climate mitigation play a major role in climate regulation. low pH or waterlogging inhibit emissions from soils. the equilibrium between CO2 and carbonate. at least not in times measured The fundamental concern is to ensure that European in human generations (Janzen 2004). The biodiversity of soil microbes is amounts of carbon. either as waste land that can be brought into cultivation account for less than 1% of global biomass carbon. but it is likely to and absorption. with inevitable large-scale loss of soil carbon net primary productivity of the oceans is roughly equal to to the atmosphere. Nevertheless. The climate-regulating containing large quantities of carbon. it will also simultaneously increase the release of these trace gases (methane. All soils contain organic matter. biomass production for carbon storage in soils and Some of this occurs by physical processes. nitrous the contribution they make to climate regulation services. For example. though it might appear to provide a source of determining this than plant species richness per se. but soils rich in there is serious potential for negative carbon balance organic matter occur in many ecosystems. However. 2005). which have a capacity to sequester substantial greenhouse gas.The largest single store of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems European concerns/context globally and in Europe is in the peat soils of the boreal and cool temperate zones of the northern hemisphere. or as fuel mines. but it illustrates the importance of having good represent an important biotic offset through enhanced knowledge about the performance of soils in Europe as carbon sequestration (Waddington et al. Agricultural ecosystems currently have low soil carbon This is particularly important. mainly algae. for example. nitrous oxide). section C3) is likely to have profound impacts may have lost as much as 0. exchange of CO2 between atmosphere and ocean is consequences of changes in land use aimed at increasing larger than that between air and terrestrial ecosystems. which is a major store The response of peatlands to climate changes is crucial of carbon. this will be especially important for any policies that seek to All soils store carbon.6% of their stores of carbon on soil carbon storage and on the emission of trace gases. may lead to reduced carbon retention current evidence for the role played by soil biodiversity in in soils. as a result of increased nitrogen fertiliser additions to soils. Losses of carbon function of peatlands also depends on land use because from these peat (and other) soils could easily outweigh intensification of land use (for example for biofuels any savings made by reductions in fossil fuel use: UK soils production. This is particularly important in the case of peatlands are also major sources of methane. biodiversity plays in future climate mitigation strategies. not a key determinant of peat-related carbon storage (Laggoun-Defarge et al. but most of this is in deep ocean layers and not in active circulation. deforestation therefore approach to the management of carbon and the role that also has the capacity to affect climate regulation. nitrous oxide) emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O. carbon stores. the policies take into account multiple impacts: for example. Although oceanic plants. because the goal will be to remove as much key processes leading either to carbon sequestration or to biomass as possible. but a new equilibrium is established once the forests 42 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . for example. they concluded carbon stores in Europe. soil management policies need to account for the benefits that accrue from Ecosystems involved sustaining or increasing soil carbon sequestration. a potent greenhouse gas) is poor. Considering the area of drained and mined peatlands. but a Agricultural policy has a large influence on this area: significant proportion is accounted for by biological peatlands. decomposition. Niklaus et al. a potent peatlands. have historically been viewed processes. oxide) production. enhance biofuel production from agricultural land. Forests are the only major ecosystems where the amount of carbon stored in biomass of the There is a need to develop a whole-systems ecosystem plants exceeds that in the soil. where The largest stores are in peatlands. the by drainage. but peat soils have especially high carbon to predicting potential feedbacks on the global carbon contents. intensive biofuel that keystone species played a more significant role in production. 2001). same result more quickly. and there is suggestion that expanding woodland cover might make scope for enhancing those stores. 2008). given the stores due to intensive production methods. Europe contains extensive areas of peat cycle (Belyea & Malmer 2004). However. especially due to losses of stored carbon and increased trace gas where low temperature. There are concerns over the methodology used in this peatland restoration on abandoned mined peatlands may study. through carbon strategies. involving emissions of greenhouse gases (methane. Afforestation may achieve net uptake initially. because peat forms There are strong regional variations in trace gas emissions when biological activity is minimised.

2007). The recent appearance of blue of the soil (Wall & Virginia 2000). though they are usually Phytophthora infestans in potato fields (Phillips et al. on control of occur in all natural ecosystems. of all ecosystems. B2 Disease and pest regulation causing effects such as extinction of native species. uses of the products that we generate from them. Insects often evolve resistance to insecticides the implications these changes might have ecosystem within a decade. We need data on fungicides and antibiotics. The role of soil micro-organisms of about 4 years. Some plant roots from diseases caused by root-rot fungi (Haas ecosystems may be better able to resist invasion by novel & Keel 2003). how soil communities react when exposed to a range Within one to two decades of the introduction of each of of anthropogenic stresses. Their in managed systems can be reduced by increasing populations are also controlled by density-independent biodiversity. forestry. how much more carbon can be to a pathogen is likely to be transitory. theoretical basis of this phenomenon is well understood. and chemical control of pathogens. The implication is that in designing processes. For example. whereas sudden oak death is caused in the rhizosphere (the soil surrounding roots) can protect by a fungus probably introduced horticulturally. The therefore depends strongly on their management and the evidence on this is. (2002) have observed that the evolutionary interactions among crops and their We need to understand the long-term potential of pathogens mean that any improvement in crop resistance carbon sequestration. through carbon to ecosystems. Similar are frequently endemic and can only be controlled by patterns are seen in natural communities and the human intervention. are also major selective agents. agrochemicals. 2005). the latter dependent on the There is good evidence that the spread of pathogens evolution of defence mechanisms by the hosts. maize sequestered in terrestrial ecosystems. we need to understand much community is likely to be important. such as herbicides. in determining rates of key processes in the carbon Similarly. processes. Selection pressures on pathogens in many managed ecosystems Research needs are now intense: Tilman et al. Soil-borne pest and tongue disease in cattle in the UK is attributed to the diseases such as root-rot fungi cause enormous global improved survival of the midge that is the vector of the annual crop losses (Haas and Défago 2005).mature and the forest may cease to be a net carbon sink. pathogens than others. biological control of carbon substitution management. Pimentel et al. short-lived. however. pollution and erosion. Forest industries can play a role in shaping control of diseased hosts. but bacteria disease organism. In all of these processes the diversity of the soil future agricultural systems. cycle is central to these questions. unclear. In managed ecosystems. through carbon reserve management and spread of the disease organism. Disease-causing organisms are normal components Pimentel 2002. and of human disease vectors and disease. including those associated seven major herbicides. Their populations are regulated by density-dependent factors such as the activity of their Role of biodiversity own parasites and predators and the availability and susceptibility of their hosts. Forests contribute more deeply what kinds of properties confer resilience to climate regulation in complex ways. symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi can EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 43 . half of what it was just 30 years ago. water resources. insecticides. Some pest organisms are not disease-causing. The impacts of invasive alien species on ecosystem services and biodiversity are significant General significance (estimates vary. which can ensure that net carbon sequestration can accumulate Management of diseases can involve several approaches: indefinitely. pathogens. possibly because of factors The role of forests in future emission mitigation strategies such as the structure and complexity of ecosystem. but rather invasive species that alter the biological community. but the total costs can be in the order of tens of billions of US dollars each year (McNeely 2001. diseases 2005) and on barley mixtures (see section C1). replacement of susceptible more sustainable patterns of both production and by resistant hosts. outbreaks of disease in apple orchards (Didelot et al. and how secure is hybrids in the United States now have a useful lifetime the newly stored carbon. ecosystem management to reduce consumption. disruption of nutrient cycles (for example where the Controlling the prevalence of pests and diseases of crops invader is capable of nitrogen fixation). and potentially preserve the wild genetic storage. aerosol production and control of albedo. and observed. Examples of this phenomenon include the mechanisms such as climatic extremes. herbicide-resistant weeds were with agriculture. There is also consensus that a diverse soil community will Major outbreaks of both human and wildlife (animal not only help prevent losses due to soil-borne pests and and plant) diseases are usually due to the introduction diseases but also promote other key biological functions of a new pathogen. similarly. We resource base (see section C6) from which new strategies need to discover how biodiversity contributes to these can potentially be developed. however. Despite these beneficial effect of cultivar mixtures on scab control regulating and controlling factors. and diversion of and livestock.

disturbance regime and resource availability. D’Antonio 2000). other factors. nematodes have a variety of microbial antagonists that include nematophagous and endophytic It is likely that climate change will lead to the emergence fungi. by increasing the number of potential hosts. 44 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . including birds. spiders. often in gardens. of species into and around Europe if invasive problems are to be avoided. impact due to environmental change will be a pressure for greater use of agrochemicals. under Europe over the next decades are almost certainly already similar environmental conditions. but on chemicals has had a significant impact on the especially those that are most affected by human activity. Future levels of biodiversity may increase the chance of disease agricultural policy may need to rely on less invasive outbreaks.protect roots from pathogenic fungi (Newsham et al. control of plant pests can However. of people. ladybirds. Such strategies Ecosystems involved might involve different levels of intervention. for example. as well as entomopathogenic fungi (Naylor of pathogens with distinctive virulence (Pallen & Wren & Ehrlich 1997. Hooper & Chapin (2005) caution and reproduction in the wild. other future problem species will intensive livestock production. generally decreases present. exploiting the properties of pest relationship between biodiversity of a community and its regulation in the ecosphere and taking models from the susceptibility to invasion: some species-poor communities structure of resilient ecosystems. if pathogen spread does occur. grown in cultivation. increased biodiversity in disease control. Some garden species are influence invasion success and may override effects beyond the limits of their climatic tolerance for survival of species richness. Most pests and pathogens are kept in check in intensive for example. Those heavily influenced by human activity incur much the greatest risk of both disease outbreaks There may need to be closer controls on the movement and invasion. Diseases dynamics by modifying abundance of intermediate such as Lyme disease and West Nile disease are likely consumers (Sanchez-Moreno & Ferris 2006). (for example heathland) have few invasive species. There is In the UK. current invasives. Plant-parasitic nematodes represent a major of these acting together (Christensen 2003). There is problem in agricultural soils because they reduce the yield therefore an important interaction with food production and quality of many crops and thus cause great economic and distribution systems. such as propagule pressure. Zhang et al. great tits (Parus major) reduced the abundance of harmful caterpillars in apple orchards by One consequence of increased pest and pathogen 50 –99% and increased apple yields (Mols et al. control measures and to use the potential benefits of particularly of susceptible as opposed to resistant species. also strongly were introduced by this route. However. ecosystems. candidates. glandulifera) and Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica). including the use of semi-managed ecosystems such as field The natural control of diseases and invasions occurs in all margins. as in the case of Policy implications nitrogen-fixers (Prieur-Richard et al. although many future invasive species European concern/context are already present in Europe and will not become problematic until environmental change or evolution Emerging diseases from wildlife are often mediated by favours their spread. development of new agricultural pesticides. Higher trophic levels in soil food webs can play a especially where vectors (for example tick. Many with increasing species richness (Joshi et al. organisms and products. the chances of invasibility within sites if these additions result in increased resource availability. 2007). but there are as yet few or no clear cases of disease spread linked to climate change (Zell 2004). such as Himalayan balsam (Impatiens However. in 2007). or increased opportunities for recruitment through disturbance (see. large-scale movements arrive without human intervention. European policy Invasive species are found in most ecosystems. Pest regulation as appears to be the case for sudden oak death in western services have the potential to support EU policies on North America (Condeso & Meentemeyer 2007). Susceptibility of a community to invasion by exotic species Most of the invasive plant species likely to emerge in is strongly influenced by species composition and. 2002a). In many managed systems. role suppressing plant parasites and affecting nutrient mosquito) are favoured by a warmer climate. losses. most invasive species are in potential for the development of European applications lowland rather than upland habitats. and often several 1995). 2006). 2002). rodent. pesticide use by providing alternative strategies for the control of agricultural pests. the Netherlands. For example. 2000). There is no simple of biological control. actinomycetes and bacteria (Dong & Zhang of new diseases and the exacerbation of existing ones. but may evolve wider that by increasing species richness one may increase tolerance as the climate changes. flies and evolutionary opportunities and lead to the emergence wasps. then the be provided by generalist and specialist predators and interaction with new potential hosts may offer new parasitoids. It is also possible that high agriculture by application of agrochemicals.

where novel compounds such as pollutants are concerned. European concerns/context including travel through soil and other porous formations before release into water bodies. may also imperil water quality for several uses Chapin (2005) suggest that integrating results from of societal importance. but may be of There are also links between this service and soil erosion particular significance in urban and intensively managed (see section A4). Sealed soils cannot purify contaminated water because rapid flows of water through soil or water and the distorted hydrological cycle impacts not only EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 45 . flows and quality. is likely that many of the key transformation processes causing organisms are soil inhabitants. in which of disease-causing microbes such as Cryptosporidium traffic and industry emit substantial amounts of pollutants (Lake et al. including penetration. because In lowland Europe. determined by many factors. There is a strong link rainwater from the sealed surfaces directly to surface between regulation of water supply and water quality. the passage of water in arid and semi-arid areas. Unsustainable use of water resources. metals). Levine 2000. climate. However. river engineering and the increasing in soil include the transformations of persistent organic impermeability of land surfaces in urban areas. including the use of replicated in soil. In all but the first case. Quality of water depends on a range of factors. and their interrelations act as key regulators. and vegetation determine water flows and storage. rivers. However. is a major factor. This service is therefore events and altered seasonality in rainfall distribution. leading pollutants (POPs). mainly in of water regulation and purification to biodiversity is tropical systems. the water quality is altered by storage and overland flow. which could usefully be assimilated into poorly understood. and micro-organisms play an important There is a considerable body of research into biological role in the quality of groundwater. extreme weather events thereby lead to poorer water Although there is a good understanding of the way in quality. sequestration and conversion of to rapid runoff and reduced infiltration of water into soil. Hooper & aquifers. play a large role. in the sense that they can be performed by a variety of common soil microbes. and these should be the supply of clean water for human and animal regarded as ‘narrow’ processes in which biodiversity may consumption. relevant to all terrestrial ecosystems. in soil are ‘broad’ processes. except in so far as the states of soil emerging strategies for low-intervention farming systems. Changing land use. application excess withdrawals forcing saltwater intrusion in coastal of this research to practice lags behind. vegetation the addition and removal of organisms and substances. ecosystems. and ability to improve water quality. especially if pesticides) compounds and the modification of many it leads to greater frequency of high-intensity rainfall of these by soil organisms. The activity of soil organisms has a large and direct As in many examples. the relationship control of agricultural and public health pests. many factors impinge on water the microbial processes in sewage works are effectively regulation and purification. Similar processes occur in water (metals. Ecosystems therefore play a major role in determining vegetation itself is determined by availability of water water quality. B3/C2 Water regulation and purification including pseudomonads. despite the fact that many serious disease. phosphate) including loss of forest cover and increased drainage. waters. including direct precipitation. such as which pathogens spread through populations. giving rise to concern about through soil has a profound impact. it is inadequate. flow of water from catchments into lowland areas are surface and subsurface flows and human intervention. both through the climatic fluctuations and change. pathogens and invasive species retention rates (compare with section A3). phosphate.Research needs bodies reduces the time for transformations to occur. On the other hand. aquifers) of water and in making it fit for consumption. as is changing climate. nutrients. knowledge of interactions impact on soil structure and hence on infiltration and between soil organisms. Changes to water quality that occur floodplains. Rates of by a variety of routes. General significance Ecosystems involved Natural systems play a major role in controlling the supply Water reaches freshwater stores (lakes. inorganic ions (nitrate. dissolution of inorganic (for example nitrate. and removal Nearly 80% of Europeans live in urban areas. Soil state. 2007). including lakes and rivers. field surveys with results from within-site experimental manipulations and mathematical models is important Role of biodiversity for both theoretical understanding and broad-scale management of invasions by exotic species (Levine & Although vegetation is a major determinant of water D’Antonio 1999. organic toxins) which are washed with bodies. and organic (dissolved organic carbon compounds. including the is more likely that particular microbial species have the management of impurities and organic waste. Shea & Chesson 2002). In particular. it The maintenance of water quality.

agriculture is estimated to require twice as much water in the next few decades Other hazards. and it is likely that loss of biodiversity may between engineered and ecosystem-based approaches reduce resilience. • air pollution due to intensive use of fossil fuels Tilman et al. In some cases. the WFD. with controls on halophytic vegetation whose fate is critical to the on groundwater extraction rates to protect surface survival of saltmarshes and other transition ecosystems. in parts of the southern EU • fires caused by prolonged drought. Increasingly. itself has major impacts on both biodiversity and other ecosystem functions. the need is the spread and appearance of disease organisms such for sustainable development practices. on groundwater. overall. at a time is in the role of diverse communities of soil microbes in the when water treatment utilities throughout Europe are removal of contaminants from water. All these challenge the ability of natural systems to In relation to biodiversity. and increasing input of dissolved organic carbon (apparent as brown colouration) in Research needs areas where water supply comes from peat catchments. The EU Water Framework Directive preservation of wetlands and tidal landforms that deliver tends to treat groundwater and surface water systems significant ecosystem services throughout Europe. crop production comes from the 16% of agricultural land that is irrigated. as Cryptosporidium. The EU as a whole has General significance sufficient water. and there are emerging problems. Examples include: populated areas as southeast England. particularly those with geological causes (Schiermeier 2008). ecosystems. of biodiversity. There is also a pollutants (both toxins and nutrients) is therefore a key need for more coherent policies on the use of water in issue. The use of the water purification B4 Protection from hazards services of natural ecosystems has the potential to ease this pressure by reducing intake loads of contaminants. have been shown to reduce the 46 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . up to 90% of agriculture is dependent human intervention. Role of biodiversity Policy implications The role of biodiversity in delivering protection from Most policy implications are not closely related to issues natural hazards is generally small. Both water availability and water quality need to be secured. Trees. For as separate compartments. struggling to meet the demands of new standards for domestic water supply. • storm surges due to sea-level rise and the increasing use of hard coastal margins. sea-level rise places intense selective pressures to the managed recharge of groundwater. groundwater and surface water. saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers. freshwater supplies are a the natural environment in Europe are sensitive to problem in the Mediterranean region and in such densely environmental change. but there is a need for trans-boundary the integrity of the affected ecosystem is of central approaches to catchment management: a balance importance. which by • landslides and avalanches. Soil biodiversity may play a role in flood and erosion control through affecting the surface roughness and Rates of urbanisation. are not relevant to a sanitation to key economic activities such as agriculture consideration of biodiversity effects. with equitable access. In general. for example on the States. Reduction of the impacts of natural forces on human settlements and the managed environment. Removal of to minimise damage to water cycles. but projections for both the south and the north under climate change suggest this situation Many hazards arising from human interaction with may not persist. and energy production. (2004) in the lagoon of Venice. especially in new Member porosity (Lavelle et al. The effects of water shortages that are localised to areas known to be vulnerable. highlight the need for planned developments boundaries of parks. and. 2006). such as therefore are already shifting attention from health and volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Biodiversity plays a key role in the to water regulation. including the agricultural production and on the relationships between increasing use of biochemicals and pharmaceuticals. There will therefore be increasing demand to redistribute water. with or without Member States. would be a valuable enhancement of as shown by Marani et al. There will be an increasing need to develop production systems based on increased efficiency of water use.the city but also surrounding ecosystems. the principal area of uncertainty continue to purify water to an acceptable level. The impacts of the consequent pumping from groundwater bodies can • flash floods due to extreme rainfall events on heavily have a damaging impact on the base flow of rivers and on managed ecosystems that cannot retain rainwater. A more coherent approach example. (2002) estimate that globally 40% of combined with extreme summer temperatures.

as water or birds. protection value against. 1998). consequences in the United States. where et al. pollination systems and causes the loss of pollinators worldwide (Kearns et al. in including steep deforested catchments. 2002). but that The use of natural pollinators to ensure that crops are pattern is only found for some species of hoverflies in pollinated. In both countries. natural habitat. known to play a major part in defence against tidal flooding. some locations. and the part played by species composition crops and 35% of food production is dependent upon will normally be indirect. Whether Pollination of flowers by insects is an essential part of biodiversity plays a role (that is. Increasingly. and habitat loss negatively affects the maintenance of etc. (2006) examined the evidence for parallel change and disturbance. coastal wetlands are plants. bee abundance has declined in both Britain and the Netherlands. which Costanza et al. together with increased use of chemicals. Wind breaks from managed woods or from Role of biodiversity the use of natural forest features are a traditional means of protecting crops and habitations against both violent Crop pollination is perhaps the best-known ecosystem storms and general damage from exposure of high service performed by insects (Zhang 2007. Flooding can also occur because of exceptionally the pressures on pollinators may result in decreased crop high tides and storm surges. Kremen and Ricketts Policy implications 2000. In mountain (Kearns et al. 2006). Habitat destruction and deterioration. 2004). of pollinator diversity. In all these cases the role of vegetation is Vaughan. but birds.) rather than hard coastal defences. In the USA. and the maintenance of forest crop yields has been attributed to the impoverishment cover in steep catchments is essential.levels of air pollutants within parks during episodes General significance of high pollution. pollinators with narrow EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 47 . rockfall (see. including rare and endangered species. in controlling the stability and animal pollination (Klein et al. including cereals – are pollinated by wind. Dorren et al. bats. B5 Pollination Compared with the period up to 1980. Several studies from Europe and America possible roles of biodiversity emerge (as in the recently have demonstrated that the loss of natural and semi- discovered impact of trees on asthma incidence). Over 75% of the world’s most important structural. moths. There is increasing evidence that conserving wild pollinators in habitats adjacent Research needs to agriculture improves both the level and stability of pollination. has decreased Ecosystems involved abundance and diversity of many insect pollinators. 2004. Bees are the resilience of the system. 2002). can impact up research to identify the role of different species in the upon agricultural crop production through reduced response will be required. leading to increased yields and income (Klein There are no research imperatives in this field. see also Losey & winds. others – including many trees and forests. 2004). the role that it plays in regulating the resilience of ecosystems and their ability to withstand environmental Biesmeijer et al. for example. land for production may reduce the ability of ecosystems to mitigate extreme events. 30% of food supply plains and urban ecosystems with constrained water depends on animal pollination (Kremen et al. There are examples of crop loss with severe economic Flooding is a problem in a wide range of ecosystems. follow. a problem that will be production in Europe as well as reduced fecundity of exacerbated by rising sea levels. declines in pollinators and insect-pollinated plants in Britain and the Netherlands. and flows. Richards 2001. flies and other insects can also be European concerns/context important. 2007). (1997) Increased levels of urbanisation and more intensive use of estimated to be worth about $14 per hectare per year. (2008) argue that the loss of biodiversity in increasingly serious issue as sea level rises. Richards (2001) reviews well-documented cases where low fruit Non-engineering solutions to coastal protection will be or seed set by crop species and the resulting reduction in increasingly important. 1998. increasing tree diversity is believed to enhance the all grasses. for example. flat alluvial almond production. based on almost one million records for all native bees and hoverflies in both countries. for whereas a few species are pollinated by other vectors such example. 2003). dominant taxon providing crop pollination services. Coastal protection is an Hajjar et al. Pollinator diversity is essential for sustaining this highly valued service. whether it matters sexual reproduction in 90% of all flowering plant species which tree species are planted) is unknown. such as calcareous grassland. The principal area of research pollination services provided by native insects such as bees on biodiversity in relation to natural hazards is to elucidate (Kremen et al. Kremen et al. agro-ecosystems through agricultural intensification protection will depend on ‘soft’ defences (salt-marshes. and incidence of asthma has been shown to be reduced in tree-rich urban areas.

and Policy implications in Britain. where most species are important in promoting bee densities. One example quoted is the need for diversity of traits such as tongue length and colour Research needs attraction in pollinators. especially for creating resilience to change and in the maintenance European concerns/context of biodiversity. in terms of both causes and consequences. Flowering crops (such as oilseed rape. This approach is supported by evidence that pollinator diversity. Critical habitats include long-term pollinated plants precedes the loss of pollinators or vice fallow. 2005. There should also be pollinator species. & Smith 2007). though not abundance. between local extinctions of functionally linked plant and and forest and woodland edges. of traits in biodiversity. environmental change. communities. these habitats are essential to the there are few data on the parallel responses of pollinators maintenance of vibrant populations of pollinating insects. low-intensity grassland. However. beetles and pollinators could have large-scale impacts on natural other pollinators. 48 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . intensity may lead to a reduction of pollination service in which remain unexplained and are an urgent research agricultural landscapes (Tscharntke et al. using native bee species. We need better data on the effects of landscape is positively related to seed set in pumpkins (Cucurbita composition and configuration on pollinator diversity and moschata) (Hoehn et al.and water-pollinated species were increasing and create networks of open habitats which will encourage self-pollinating species were broadly stable. hedges. so establishment economic losses will be encountered in agro-ecosystems of its relative importance for yield or plant fitness where insect-pollinated crops are grown and are is an important research gap. abundance. taken together they suggest a causal connection to biofuel production. or whether differences in the responses of plants and especially bees. 2008).habitat requirements showed the greatest declines. but throughout Europe. wind-pollinated. plants most dependent on insect pollinators (obligatorily out-crossing species) were declining. Öckinger need. clover and alfalfa) and forms of agriculture that allow All ecosystems. butterflies. there will be rare and possibly endangered species in all ecosystems that are potentially Pollination is often assumed not to be a limiting factor vulnerable to declines in pollinator activity. particularly in populations of honey-bees. Decreased pollinator services may endanger rare plant species. and careful consideration given to the regulation of The EU Rubicode programme highlights the importance pesticide use. Semi-natural open habitats Climate warming is already markedly altering flowering (including forest edges and hedges) are under threat times for most plant species (Fitter & Fitter 2002). which has been largely eliminated in the rush versa. The importance of this question is emphasised by recent marked declines in pollinator Reduction of landscape diversity and increase of land-use abundance. in particular whether there are thresholds for amounts of natural habitat adjacent to crops to provide Ecosystems involved pollination services. Although reservoirs of pollinators and provide resilience to it is difficult to determine whether the decline in insect. but also hoverflies. Greatest in either cultivated or wild plants. whereas There is a need to maintain diverse landscapes that wind. the importance of pollinator diversity. encouragement of bee-keeping. as is understanding dependent on wild pollinators. though possibly least important in weed survival (as often in organic agriculture) may be species-poor boreal forests.

EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 49 . More resolved by using resistant varieties from South America. However. However. diversity. whereas Hooper & Chapin (2005) note that diversity of pasture species can reduce nutrient leaching. T. Proches 2000). and insurance costs. a collective Intensive agriculture.and within-population diversity whereas as many. they also depend on heavy incur high economic and social costs. whereas environmental variations that might affect crop there is potential to use mixed soft wheat varieties for production (Vandermeer 1995. Thus diversity human societies depend. These systems offer high yields of single products. allowing economically efficient relationships between Failure to maintain sufficient genetic diversity in crops can producers and distributors. Provisioning services Diverse systems also seem to be associated with reduced pathogen attack (q. Intercropping and agroforestry studies Food production is critically dependent on primary have frequently demonstrated benefits arising from production (q. to the low genetic diversity of potatoes there.. Gauchan and Smale 2007). to General significance optimise use of resources and to provide multiple goods and services. However. These figures exclude most of the 25. are gathered from the wild. and many thousands that are of ‘landraces’. including field size and the spatial and Sthapit 2004). some of other European countries. Diversification of production and consumption conditions or for different uses (Brush & Meng 1998). arrangement of strains. there is much variation among these studies. name for Triticum monococcum. Padulosi et al. Asia and South America are reviewed in de 2006). as currently practised in Europe. 2008).v. if not more.. However. and sometimes conflicting • meet social and cultural obligations (Latournerie- conclusions can be drawn about the benefit of varietal Moreno et al. few farmers in Europe use land races et al. Other examples • command price premiums for high-quality traditional of the use of varietal mixtures in Europe. risk factors. 2008). Vallavieille-Pope (2004). in Moreover. section B2) and application of C1 Food pesticides. pollination). In contrast. (2002) report the case of hulled wheat. section A1) and on all the other complementarity or facilitation among crop or forestry supporting services (nutrient and water cycling. Heywood (1999) estimates that well over 6000 species of plants are known to have been cultivated Farming communities outside Europe value the diversity at some time or another. only production conditions. diverse production systems may allow farmers to: where the potato had originated. can or communities to provide new seeds when a crop fails contribute significantly to improved health and nutrition. habits to include a broader range of plant species.. a problem are more robust and responsive (Hajjar et al. and seed is lost or to renew seed that no longer meets livelihoods.000 species that are In southern Mexico. The potato famine use of fertilisers and pesticides. whereas in Turkey farmers that the world is currently over-dependent on a few plant grow different types of wheat in different agronomic species. soil species. with minimisation spelta. and which are linked to traditional cultures (Negri 2004). market demand. and • respond to changing market demands or so increase yields (Hajjar & Hodgkin 2007). is consciously incorporated into ecosystems managed for extraction of food and fibre as a safeguard against risk.C. North varieties that compensate for lower yields (Smale America. 2006). where both ex situ and in situ which are pathogenic and able to have large impacts on conservation strategies are being attempted. household food security and ecological the farmer’s criteria of good seed (Louette & Smale sustainability (Jaenicke & Höschle-Zeledon 2006. farmers rely on the diversity of other farms particular those currently identified as ‘underutilised’. raising questions about in Ireland in the nineteenth century is generally attributed economic and environmental sustainability. yield. in the UK (Swanston & Newton 2005). about 30 crop species provide 95% of the world’s food consumption. The delivery and maintenance of the food chain on which production variation.v. making some agricultural systems based on a diversity of varieties the crop susceptible to potato blight fungus. farmers rely on growing a diversity estimated to have been used or are still in use as herbal of maize land races because of heterogeneous soil and medicines in various parts of the world. Barley mixtures may successfully reduce disease incidence in Europe. a response that matches findings from many formation) as well as on regulating services (for example ecological experiments. farmer-developed populations of cultivated grown locally are scarcely or only partly domesticated. which are an important speciality crop in Italy and of associated species such as insects and fungi. dicoccum and T. is centred around crop monoculture. Agricultural strategies need to be tailored • improve dietary diversity and improve nutrition (Johns to local conditions. and most are no longer conscious of the importance of Role of biodiversity diversity in agricultural production. and uses of different products from a single energy (Williams & Haq 2002) and it has been argued crop species (Bellon 1996). Brush and Meng energy-efficient feedstock for the bioethanol industry 1998. species that show among.

array of ecosystem services. a sustainable solution to this conflict between areas of uplands devoted to grazing. Some types of farming system Dependence on imports potentially imposes large carbon in Europe can promote biodiversity. especially biodiversity: we could devote spare land to biodiversity by in developing countries. Agriculture meets a major human need. This will stress the capacity of agriculture to meet many agricultural sectors. (2005) argue that farming is already the greatest production is likely to reduce yields and there is then a extinction threat to birds (the best-studied group). and pesticide input by 97%. The EU is in a unique suburban areas have allotment and other forms of garden position to assess the costs and benefits of alternative that are used for food production. purely on food production. agro-ecosystems agriculture still function. including extensive hand. principally by food production and biodiversity conservation may be sheep. and processes and practices services delivered by agricultural land. approaches to land-use management and make sound choices at the right scale. both of which can damage semi. not simply for fruit and vegetables. production systems (for example forestry) and urban areas. energy. Food is produced principally in intensively managed current data suggest that for a wide range of species agro-ecosystems. but analysis may reveal that importing food from countries with inconsistent effects among organisms and landscapes with more productive climates is more carbon-efficient in (Bengtsson et al. However. there with areas set aside for biodiversity conservation may are large areas of Europe in which food production allow more species to persist overall. Current European concerns/context trends point to continued human population growth and ever-higher levels of consumption as the global economy Currently. will need to be viewed as of equal status in management natural habitats. potentially devastating impacts on biodiversity. with negative Research needs consequences for the ability of distributed populations to withstand environmental change. again principally in areas of to recognise that. production strategies on biodiversity and compare a ‘wildlife-friendly farming’ with a ‘land sparing’ option that Ecosystems involved minimises demand for land by maximising yields. Organic farming can costs on the food supply chain. This will involve ensuring that The ubiquity of agricultural production in Europe also evolving agricultural support policies and farm payment means that other ecosystems are frequently adjacent systems properly value the full range of ecosystem to food-producing land. but also requires heavy and unsustainable subsidies of chemicals. from both imports of some critical parts of the European diet raises economic and ecological perspectives. comprising 45% of the EU’s land area in developing countries. Even though crop yields may be 20% lower in organic systems. They conclude that athough the evidence base is incomplete. the pattern food needs without further sacrificing the environmental 50 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . with increasing important questions about food security and exposes temporal and spatial scales and for providing a broader EU citizens to risks associated with both supply and cost. high-yield farming combined at present. Agro-ecosystems may also act as barriers of agro-ecosystems. those used for other of biodiversity. Apart from areas devoted to too will need to be managed so as to garner the benefits wildlife conservation or recreation. trade-off between land for agriculture and land for wild and its adverse impacts look set to increase. Green 2002). although some areas will need to be complex topography. managed agricultural landscapes. However. and both affects and depends on all other life support systems. to the migration and dispersal of organisms among remaining patches of non-agricultural land. and large areas. Even some urban and the impacts of changing land-use. where more traditional forms of protected from agricultural exploitation. They suggest that diversity becomes The high dependence of European food supplies on increasingly important as a management goal. and capital. They suggest therefore that using intensive agriculture or use more land for production we need to consider the overall effects of different in extensive or organic systems that promote biodiversity. most of the European landscape is involved in There is therefore a need for a Europe-wide assessment of food production to some extent. 2005): benefits are greatest in intensively some cases. for some key high-value products within other sectors. On the other is achieved with less impact. down from 49. although full life-cycle increase biodiversity (species richness and abundance). suggesting that the enhanced soil fertility and As world food prices rise.Hooper & Chapin (2005) argue that maintenance of high of trade is such that the EU is actually highly dependent productivity over time in monocultures almost invariably on imports. inputs of fertiliser Policy implications and energy were reduced by 34 –53%. there will be pressure to higher biodiversity found in organic plots may render these maximise the area under production and this will have systems less dependent on external inputs (Mader et al. notably cereals. and do not focus of agriculture may therefore have a broader impact. water quality and regulation and carbon storage and nutrient pollution. use of land for non-intensive agricultural et al. although the EU is a net exporter of food in expands.5% in 1995. Other services such as nutrient Obvious examples of this phenomenon are spray drift cycling.

arable land generally and grasslands. primary production). grown in saline water grounds of past performance. land- energy source. with sustainability issues. At present. of which biological because their introduction on a large-scale will inevitably materials are a major part. in addition. They emissions. A similar available. direct role in most biofuel production systems. as well as policy innovation and public education. but it will be materials otherwise useable as food for people or animals. Currently. The expectation is that these ‘first generation’ fuels will be Ecosystems involved displaced – at least for ethanol production – by a second generation of non-food materials. Miscanthus) which are burned as fuels Much of the damage seems likely to be inflicted outside in conventional power stations. including: losses of carbon from newly cultivated soils. that are directly derived from There may be a need to trawl widely for potential wild or cultivated plant species. losses of other greenhouse gases that despite the artificiality of agro-ecosystems. principally cellulose Ecosystems likely to be used for biofuel production and lignin from both food crops and dedicated energy include forests. to manufacture ethanol as responsible. However. probably or regulatory mechanisms. biofuel crop species and algae. both ecological and socioeconomic. emphasising the need to gathering of wood for fuel remains an important domestic maintain and conserve genetic diversity. However. The exception is the proposal to use mown The supply of plants for fuels. In some parts of Europe. full analyses of the important ecological interactions in major agricultural carbon fluxes and other environmental impacts associated systems and landscapes and about the economic value with current and envisaged biofuel production systems of the ecosystem services associated with agriculture. and research on It seems unlikely that biodiversity of the crop will play a critical levels of soil biodiversity is urgently needed. of existing policies undermine the apparent benefits. although all land-based biofuel production will rely on the supporting and regulating services. higher levels of biodiversity. Swinton et al. Natural systems provide a great diversity of materials for fuel. (2006) have emphasised under the plough. they such as nitrous oxide from nitrogen-fertilised biofuel have great potential to expand the supply of ecosystem production systems. particularly in tropical regions. example willow. They also suggest that on utilising single-celled marine algae. This challenge requires an ecological approach separation during processing. this is being lead both to more intensive land use and to the achieved partly by the cultivation of biomass crops (for conversion of currently uncultivated land to production. show that the carbon mitigation benefits are either much To create agricultural landscapes that are managed for smaller than anticipated or even illusory. a replacement for petrol and other oil-derived fuels. There is currently intense interest and based biofuel production systems have the potential to strong policy direction to increase the proportion of energy be especially damaging to conservation of biodiversity derived from renewable sources. and transport and manufacturing services compared with semi-natural systems. Crop and livestock All of these biofuel production systems present serious production systems must be managed as ecosystems. to agriculture that is largely missing from current management and research portfolios. agricultural systems have in areas where reliable high solar radiation fluxes are the capacity to respond to such external drivers. Several factors multiple services in addition to food and fibre will require that have not been properly assessed in formulation integrative research. grassland as a second-generation biofuel. European demand for biofuels that will be at least partly including wheat and maize. too little is known about and on prices worldwide. There are already established management decisions fully informed by environmental damaging impacts on food production and availability costs and benefits. destruction of vegetation when new land is brought In the USA. sustained production in such a system may well be best achieved by General significance a diverse mixture of plant species (compare with section 1a. may be essential if less energy-intensive forms of agriculture are to be adopted in future. argue that this is because much more is known about the biophysical relationships within them and we already Many believe that the only sustainable and economically have precedents for ways to intervene through markets viable biofuels will be a ‘third generation’. the Agriculture’s main challenge for the coming decades will economic viability of second-generation biofuels depends be to produce sufficient food and fibre for a growing on improvements in enzymatic degradation processes global population at an acceptable environmental and probably the development of high-value product cost. especially Role of biodiversity in soil. for which biodiversity of soil organisms is important. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 51 .integrity of local landscapes and the global environment. and partly by diversion of Europe. notably oils and wood. crops. argument probably exists for agricultural landscapes in Europe. However. such as nutrient and C3 Energy water cycling. in the absence of substantial subsidy.

way to generate electricity. the trend has been European concerns/context towards the use of imported fibres. and be developed fashion industry. of dew retting. The use of peat as a fuel made to re-establish a bast fibre industry in Europe. for food prices are unknown. from synthetic fibres and imports from Australia and New Zealand. the widespread uptake of bast C4 Fibre fibre crops in Europe seems unlikely. In recent years. were lost largely the full carbon budgets (covering transport. Historically. 1999). cotton and silk. In some parts of the EU. The supply of fibres from plants and animals for the Cotton is not a major crop for Europe although there is production of woven materials. and supporting relatively low input pasture land. however. this is an inefficient applications with consequences for local water systems. the plant stems need to undergo a process of and policy conditions. full carbon budgets for importance in establishing Western Europe as a centre biomass energy production are unknown and it is not of manufacturing and export. damaging to a restricted and sensitive ecosystem. remote and important ecosystem service to Europe. There should be an immediate re-assessment of based on locally produced flax remains in Belgium and the EU biofuels provisions. linen. particularly in upland and marginal to become a significant land-use pressure in parts of EU. providing subsidised incomes for rural and the implications of this for other types of land use and areas. To extract bast account likely future technologies and future economic fibres. emissions and all other flows of carbon). agricultural areas. should be discouraged. Although much of the fibre used in these manufacturing centres was initially produced locally. This research applications. However. the from imported cotton. Historically. losses of fibre and highly inconsistent quality. Until these problems are overcome. Bast fibres from flax and hemp have mechanical and insulation properties competitive with synthetic fibres. soil carbon in the early twentieth century because of competition storage. because time-to-market issues are less The provision of fibre has historically been a highly important than for food production systems. so that robust models can be partial degradation. remain a Biomass for power production and fuel (biodiesel) is likely substantial activity. producing high-quality linen for the a strong and explicit evidence base. and is exceptionally of several of these. returns soil carbon directly to but recent EU regulations have tightened controls on use the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. However. including the associated agricultural production. and future policy should have northern France. Sheep grazing does. recreation and biodiversity conservation. Research needs The automotive industry has started to adopt plant-fibre- based composites for low-grade applications such as The most urgent need is for whole life-cycle carbon and interior panelling in cars.There is likely to be strong pressure to bring land currently General significance regarded as marginal for agriculture into production for biofuel production. the wool industry was of principal biomass element. and most textiles consumed in the EU are now manufactured outside Energy strategy in Europe currently includes a significant the EU. there are substantial energy budgets of biofuel production systems (both problems in the uptake of plant fibres for composite terrestrial and aquatic) to be determined. Flax and hemp were major European crops with associated industries for the The EU should undertake a full audit of implications of production of linen and rope. and ropes are now mostly made and the likely use of genetically modified crops in biofuel with more durable synthetic fibres. These industries. Bast fibre textiles have largely impacts of expanded biofuel production on biodiversity. The unpredictability of dew retting leads to large benefits. but wool production is clear that there are net benefits in the use of any kinds of now a minor activity in Europe because of competition biomass. Cotton cultivation 52 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . some production in southern countries. this was developed. A small-scale industry systems. there should allowing partial anaerobic digestion to occur. been replaced by cotton. attempts have been on clear sustainability criteria. The wealth of relatively inaccessible areas where land values are low may many parts of Europe stems from production of materials be targets for biofuel systems. whereby the cut crop is left to partly rot in while simultaneously delivering other ecosystem service the field. along with increased biomass and bioenergy production. peat Sheep husbandry requires the use of topical pesticide is used as a fuel in power stations. such as adverse effects on the environment of this process (and the ability of diverse grasslands or mixed biomass crops the appalling smell) led to it being abandoned in favour to generate sustainable high yields with minimal inputs. Plant fibres have been produced for textile and binding Policy implications applications for many years. mostly related to reliability in raw material should include a forecasting element to take into quality and supply (deJong et al. Because biofuel systems that compete with achieved by submerging plants in large tanks and ponds food production are unlikely to be favoured. introducing conflicts with and products based on wool. called retting. but the be empirical research into alternative systems.

pulping in the future (Pilate et al. with relatively short rotation times. of the sort hemp that grow well with minimal inputs and produce that recently devastated pine forests in western Canada a range of potentially useful materials including oil and (Mock et al. to forestry plantations on sub-optimal agricultural land will help improve the sustainability of the pulp and or in areas supporting boreal forest. Biodiverse protein from seed. and may not survive without subsidies. low inputs in terms of agrichemicals. Textile fibre crops currently man-made fibres with plant fibres in various industrial account for very minor areas of arable land. The introduction of genetically their international competitive position. but seem unlikely Agro-foresty is a major activity in parts of northern to become major crops without additional research and Europe. in improving fibre raw material quality to enable uptake of plant fibres into industrial applications. particularly in Sweden in response for localised rural production could change this in the to regulatory constraints (Environmental Performance. Such large-scale monocultures products. Greater awareness of sustainability and the desire have been achieved. coming years. as well as in more southerly areas such as support. Western societies continue to be major process innovations. transformation to medicines. The pulping industry itself has historically The production of fibres for textiles is a very limited been a substantial source of environmental pollution. and this thuringiensis toxins has reduced quantities of pesticide should be encouraged and supported. with most raw from agricultural products.).requires high inputs of freshwater and chemicals. and policy leading to reductions in some trees with altered lignin structures that are easier to paper consumption in EU will improve environmental pulp. Spain and Portugal where there are significant areas of eucalyptus production. Australia and New Zealand in particular. 2007) (compare with section B2). Research needs Role of biodiversity The drive toward greater environmental sustainability Commercial production of plant fibres is mostly confined requires us to consider how to obtain maximum utility to the pulp and paper industry in Europe. resulting in limited that ensure maximum value is extracted from plant scope for biodiversity. using both recycled paper and forestry crops. owing to competition from Janvry 2005). while minimising impacts on pulp being produced from highly managed monocultures the environment and biodiversity. Reducing the Ecosystems involved chemical inputs necessary for paper production. as well as bast fibres from stems. Bast fibre crops such as The pulp and paper industry has a significant presence hemp and flax are attractive as they require relatively in Europe. These countries invest heavily in research to maintain particularly pesticides. Trees planted for pulp this will be the development of integrated bio-refineries are grown at relatively high densities. Wool production is paper industries. Pulp production generally relies Policy implications on rapidly growing monocultures. The consumption of paper per capita in generally confined to marginal farming areas in Europe Europe is high and research into reducing this would be such as upland pastures. but careful life-cycle analyses production is generally a low-intensity activity on should be undertaken to confirm this. along with decreased carbon is not an economically advantageous occupation emissions and increased farmer profits (Quaim & de currently in Europe. as well as modified cotton varieties expressing insecticidal Bacillus to increase their environmental sustainability. beneficial. It may be worth re-evaluating crops such as are vulnerable to runaway pathogen attack. Wool production sprayed on the crop. 2002). Wool contexts appears desirable. etc. which tends to stimulate pollution. competition with other regions producing cotton and Substantial improvements in emissions from pulp mills wool. as well Fibre production in Europe is currently largely confined as improving the capture and recycling of these inputs. food additives. Replacing robust future productivity. Genetic modification has led to consumers of paper. European concerns C5 Biochemicals Forest products represent a major component in the Materials derived from nature as feedstocks in economies of the Nordic countries and Baltic states. An important aspect of of fast-growing pine and eucalypts. which may decrease the chemical requirements for sustainability. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 53 . with cropping systems may prove of value in terms in ensuring residual biomass perhaps serving as biofuels. The paper industry is a major consumer Regulations and Technologies in the Pulp and Paper of freshwater and a major source of environmental Industry 2006 EKONKO Inc. Improving the semi-managed pasture lands with the potential to recovery of bast fibres from plant stems will be important support considerable biodiversity. activity in Europe at present and this is unlikely to particularly for water resources because of the need for change in the current globalised economy owing to harsh chemical treatment to release and bleach the fibres.

gums. January 2008) where development European concerns/context of integrated biorefineries will generate the building Because of the general lack of understanding about blocks (platform chemicals) for industrial chemistry. however.org). The diverse shoreline. Although species-rich environments are discussed in detail in chapter 10 of the Millennium such as tropical forests have often been assumed to Ecosystems Assessment. Some what controls biochemical production and about likely of these products may be regarded as biochemicals. with consideration of the options Role of biodiversity for protecting intellectual property and benefit sharing. the problem Some of the best-characterised examples are of the general lack of a robust and reliable measure to pharmaceuticals. There is a potential role for the European Commission Biodiversity is the fundamental resource for in supporting pre-competitive research by helping to bioprospecting. grasslands and industrial applications associated with bioprospecting agricultural land. current biochemical resources as a basis for new discovery A wide variety of species – microbial. high value. there are many examples associated with European habitats. biodiversity loss productivity of natural processes. 3% from vertebrates) (Ecological Microbes seem likely to be especially rich in undiscovered Society of America. dyes. developing countries. plant oil-based plastics and biochemicals obtained from ecosystems in other polyhydroxyalkanoates. It has been estimated that of the top assess the commercial or other value of an ecosystem is 150 prescription drugs used in the USA. More problematically. waxes) and All ecosystems are potential sources of biochemicals:– as a basis for biomimetics that may become increasingly there are numerous examples from the oceans and important in nanotechnology applications. nutraceuticals. However. 5% from bacteria. 118 originate compounded by the expectation that most biochemical from natural sources (74% from plants. The activities to identify new sources of established This use to produce biochemicals might itself have a biochemicals/chemicals and novel biochemicals/chemicals negative impact on biodiversity if over-harvesting removes are anticipated to increase. It is important for in consequence of relatively low-value activities such as EU innovation policy to capitalise on these broad 54 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . for example metabolites. New high-value industries a high proportion of the species – it is necessary to protect may be created. cosmetics and Ecosystems involved other natural products for industrial use (for example enzymes. freshwater systems. September 2007) concludes that European competitiveness. Advances in the fundamental science against this by agreeing harvesting protocols on a of genomics can be expected to be applied to enhance case-by-case basis. there is also need economically competitive products (compared with oil- to consider the issues for supporting European derived) are within reach. However. biomass for chemical feedstocks in addition to bioenergy (Royal Society report ‘Sustainable biofuels: prospects and challenges’. In metabolic capacities. pharmaceuticals. The impact of the current global decline currently a difficult environment for this work on genetic in biodiversity on the discovery of novel biochemicals modification. supply the most products. companies in their activities to identify and use proteins. broadly there will be need for EU make use of biomass economically viable.actionbioscience. it is assumed. for example for celluloses.General significance indiscriminate logging may compromise the future high-value activities (as yet undiscovered) associated with Biochemicals encompass a broad range of chemicals of the search for novel biochemicals and chemicals. In the context of of the science report. essential oils. chapter 3. A future sources of new agents (some which could satisfy report from the US Environmental Protection Agency currently unimagined applications). resins. Thus. State the issues for primary production. crop protection chemicals. it may be assumed (Bioengineering for pollution prevention through that the issues for biochemicals are broadly related to development of biobased energy and materials. but it is rarely possible to predict which develop and make accessible integrated databases of the species or ecosystem will become an important source. to be tapped in the various achievements so far are assumed to be only a very small natural species. forests. Although there is a very – have been a valuable source of biochemicals but the large resource. which could initiatives to support public–private partnerships with become a significant land-use issue. ecosystems means that there is likely to be great potential there is an important related consideration in the use of in searching for novel biochemicals there. and the complexity of soil addition to these high-value biochemical products. plant and animal in the diverse industry sectors. the EU is screening. resources have yet to be discovered and exploited. The high-value products may countries. polylactides. and applications is probably grossly underestimated because of a general lack of recognition of the potentially Policy implications commercially important species. 18% from fungi. www. there are also specific examples where proportion of what could be possible by more systematic genetic modification may add value.

there is a need genetic diversity can be viewed as a service in itself. taken together with varieties bred for high performance under optimal other changes in agricultural practice (for example the conditions (Joshi et al. periods. to traits (marker-assisted selection) provides a more efficient and predictable route to conventional breeding Research needs programmes. adaptation to local environment and to climate to biotic and abiotic stress. but quantifiable data on trend analysis in genetic resources are very Provision of genes and genetic material for animal and limited and have been collected for relatively brief plant breeding and for biotechnology. The Food and Agriculture applications when compared with present achievements. marine environments) redundancy (Fears 2007). has of genetic resources comprises the traditional resources accelerated the erosion of genetic variation in cultivated (wild types and the older domesticated landraces) material. locally adapted varieties often and agriculture. much more research EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 55 . especially in poorly the level of molecular systematics and taxonomy) and the documented ecosystems (soil. to respond value. 2001). sea). C6 Genetic resources livestock. Role of biodiversity For example. resistance to disease. Genetic resources more intensive agriculture may also have deleterious will be increasingly important in support of improved impact on the non-domesticated plants and animals breeding programmes. fisheries and forestry sectors. In so far as the delivery of As in other ecosystem assessment areas. However. conserve. when biodiversity declines. nutritional vulnerability and their plasticity. Altieri 1990. report In Press). It is important that issues within the change. for example. New techniques using molecular markers are make the continued availability of this provision from providing new precision in characterising biodiversity (at natural systems potentially a concern. the diversity collectivisation of large farms in Eastern Europe). The loss of genetic diversity associated with together with modern cultivars. Genebanks are better developed in the EU than elsewhere but have Ecosystems involved limited capacity to conserve the range of genetic diversity within populations. although data from poorly developing management strategy to identify gaps and studied systems (for example soils. All ecosystems are important. March 2008. because genetic diversity is inevitably lost (Royal Society symposium. hence the decreases susceptibility to pests and climate variation specific focus of the International Treaty on Plant (Ewel 1986. 2000). Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has done much significant work at the global level to support characterisation of genetic resources in the food crop.opportunities. (especially if there is the prospect that yields/attributes can then be optimised using genomics-based techniques). There are also increasing opportunities for genetic modification – for example where a desirable There is a major need in many industrial sectors for characteristic may only be available by using an unrelated new programmes to screen natural products. There are now numerous initiatives to collect. study and manage genetic resources in situ General significance (for example growing crops) and ex situ (for example seed and DNA banks) worldwide. The advances in genomics research are opening Convention on Biological Diversity relating to research up a new era in breeding. Especially Genetics Resources to conserve the resources for food in low-input systems. are too patchy to make clear statements. (and micro-organisms) in the ecosystem. In the species. In agriculture. A decline in farm animals. Extinction rates within genetic diversity within collections – a significant aid to the EU appear to remain low. A new mood and optimise the production of important biochemicals of realism will see a return to screening natural products (section C5). Zhu et al. including most EU Current rates of extinction (both at local and global levels) countries. the need for companies to develop new approaches to tackling antibiotic resistance will likely This is a service for which biodiversity is of central include new natural product screening programmes importance. genetic diversity of crops previous human efforts to improve varieties. to develop new research methodologies to map and therefore. pharmaceutical sector. for example for crop plants. fisheries – with wide range of objectives crop genetic diversity has consequences for their genetic for increasing yield. where the linkage of genes and development of novel compounds are resolved. The replacement of landraces by produce higher yield or are more resistant to pests than high-yielding food crop varieties. biodiversity is fundamental to it. there had been a move away from natural product screening on the assumption that Genetic resources are also important for other purposes genomics research would provide future targets for – for example in support of new activities to identify combinatorial chemistry-based approaches. Agricultural biodiversity can be considered to have a special status because of As discussed elsewhere. The greatest value future options: this is particularly difficult in this focus on genetic diversity as a service is in the protection area because of the magnitude of the future unforeseen of gene pools for agriculture.

There is a large amount of research to be completed to address currently identified priorities in genome Policy implications sequencing. In addition to research on the determinants that ecosystems that currently lack protection.com/gediflux). There is need to build better Thus. it is ambiguous about what specific genetic resources would be patentable. and global level).using molecular marker-based technologies is now Access to genetic resources is governed by the Convention needed to monitor the change in genetic diversity and on Biological Diversity and by the International Treaty help quantify the challenges for sustainable agriculture. but Diversity Project. for Because the bulk of genetic diversity exists in natural and use as resources in structured breeding programmes. to field are still poor. for example the option of open-source licensing methodology for sharing information. on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. the EU must explore the opportunities for which genetic richness confers attributes such as stability capitalising on global genetic resources. Such research is now getting started at the EU level (for The latter has significant potential on a multilateral example the European Commission-funded Crop Genetic basis to support plant breeding research in Europe. 56 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . are given proper crop/biomass applications for bioenergy and chemical protection. characterisation of key gene functions at the molecular level and as determinants of physiology. There is need for further debate on alternative options for treating genetic resources as public European concerns/context goods. The semi-natural ecosystems. partly in consequence of the 2004 as a basis for breeding improved varieties because of EASAC report Genomics and crop plant sciences in uncertainties in the cost required to validate proof of Europe. However. commercial communities and policy- because both commercial and academic expertise makers. www. There is need to grow the skills for curation The role of genetic diversity in determining the attributes and use of gene and seed banks within the EU and the of populations and ecosystems is an important area of appropriate sharing of their information and benefits. with patent There has been a resurgence of EU interest in this area protection focused on end products. technical. regulatory. research is required to support new and much of the marine environment. fundamental research: we need to establish the extent to In addition. has been lost from the EU in plant sciences and in conventional breeding programmes in consequence of Research needs the deteriorating environment for genetically modified products. there is need to ensure that EASAC report (2004) provides detailed discussion of some existing policies on biodiversity loss and on protection of of the EU priorities (augmented by Fears (2007) for the habitats (for example Natura 2000) are implemented. notably soil of food production. European applications and to support technology transfer to developing countries. both for local and resilience.niab. (for example the joint European Commission–industry Technology Platforms on Plants for the Future and on There is a general difficulty in valuing genetic resources Animal Health). feedstocks. the mechanisms linking laboratory concept and in the likelihood of reduction to practice. there is need to build stronger linkages between the relationships between fundamental science and breeding.

D. Cultural services low biodiversity and high water and agrochemical use,
making them potentially or actually damaging.
The services listed under this heading by the Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment are best viewed as falling into two Role of biodiversity
groups:
The role of biodiversity varies greatly among these services
(1) spiritual, religious, aesthetic, inspirational and sense but is likely to be particularly large for ecotourism and
of place; educational uses of ecosystems. However, in many cases
biodiversity may not be the typical identifier of the value
(2) recreation, ecotourism, cultural heritage and being placed on the ecosystem, but nevertheless underlies
educational. the character recognised by the visitor. Typical landscapes
in different parts of Europe are in part identifiable by
General significance the organisms, especially trees, growing there. Schröter
et al. (2005) predicted that several typical tree species
All these services have a large element of non-use values, of the Mediterranean region are likely to decline as a
especially those in the first group to which economic result of the impact of climate change, including cork
value is hard to apply. Those in the second group are more oak (Quercus suber), holm oak (Q. ilex), aleppo pine
amenable to traditional valuation approaches. Although (Pinus halepensis) and maritime pine (P. pinaster). Some
all societies value the spiritual and aesthetic ‘services’ that key cultural sites are protected by ecosystems that are
ecosystems provide, these may have different significance vulnerable to climate change: for example, vegetation
in affluent, stable and democratic societies (Pretty et al. changes in response to sea level rise will undermine the
2005). Nevertheless biodiversity plays an important role in halophytic ecosystems surrounding the lagoon of Venice.
fostering a sense of place in all European societies and has These changes would affect the sense of place and
considerable intrinsic cultural value (Moore 2007). cultural identity of the inhabitants, traditional forms of
land use and the tourism sector. Phillips (1998) also argues
Evidence for the importance of these services to citizens that several Europe-wide studies have confirmed the
of the EU can be found in the scale of membership many conservation and environmental values associated
of conservation-oriented organisations. The largest with such traditional landscapes, and that they can also
membership organisation in the EU is the National Trust in act as models for the sustainable use of natural resources.
the UK, with 3.4 million members. Other large societies in
the UK include the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Many cultural services are associated with urban
(more than one million members) and the Royal Society areas, especially those with very long histories of
for Nature Conservation (670,000), whereas in Germany human occupation; in these the role of biodiversity is
the Naturshutzbund (NABU) has 450,000 members. likely to be less important. However, there is good
evidence that biodiversity in urban areas plays a
Cultural services are of unusually high importance in positive role in promoting human well-being. For
Europe because of the high value placed by Europeans example, Fuller et al. (2007) have shown that the
on recreation, tourism and ecotourism. Stark evidence of psychological benefits of green space in Sheffield
the relative importance of these services compared with increase with biodiversity, whereas a green view from
traditional forms of land use was given by the 2001 foot a window increases job satisfaction and reduces job
and mouth disease epidemic in the UK, which closed stress (Shin 2007). Green spaces also promote health
large areas of the uplands to tourism; one estimate of the by encouraging exercise and have obvious educational
economic impact was that gross domestic product fell benefits.
by £3.8 billion during 2001 and 2002 as a result of the
epidemic, of which 86% was due to losses in tourism. Ecosystems involved

Most ecosystem-related tourism is protective of Cultural services based on biodiversity are most strongly
biodiversity; indeed the desire to see particular species associated with less intensively managed areas, where
may be the rationale for the visit in many cases. In semi-natural biotopes dominate. These large areas
contrast, some recreational uses of ecosystems are actually may provide both tranquil environments and a sense of
or potentially damaging. Shooting of migratory birds is the wilderness. Low-input agricultural systems are also likely
most blatant of these and is the cause of conflict between to support cultural services, with many local traditions
the EU and certain Member States in southern Europe, based on the management of land and its associated
but the management of land for game birds is also viewed biological resources.
by some as destructive of biodiversity because it typically
involves suppression of predatory species. Golf courses Policy implications
are a substantial user of land in some parts of the EU;
traditionally, golf course management was a low-intensity Although separated here, cultural services provide
activity, but modern approaches are often associated with a coherent challenge to policy, in that preferences

EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 57

expressed in economic terms (for example tourism) in western Scotland conflicting with farmers’ needs to
are based on aesthetic and other perceptions. Policy reserve grazing for livestock rather than the geese; and
(especially agricultural policy) needs to be aimed at the perceived need by managers of game-bird estates in
developing sustainable land-use practices across the Scotland and northern England to control predators such
EU, to deliver cultural, provisioning and regulatory as hen harriers (Circus cyaneus) that prey on young grouse
services effectively and with minimal cost. Maintenance but which are protected.
of diverse ecosystems for cultural reasons can allow
provision of a wide range of other services without Research needs
economic intervention. However, there will frequently
be actual or potential conflicts arising when different Progress in understanding the role of cultural services
cultural traditions meet. Good examples of these conflicts will depend on new interdisciplinary working methods
include the shooting of migratory birds by hunters in bringing together natural and social scientists, to allow
Mediterranean countries conflicting with the desire of more appropriate economic models and effective
many northern Europeans to conserve (and view) these measurements of interactions between people and
birds; the protection of geese by conservation bodies natural systems.

58 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC

Bibliography Brush, SB. & Meng, E (1998). Farmers valuation and
conservation of crop genetic resources. Genetic
Altieri, MA (1990). Agroecology and rural development Resources and Crop Evolution 45, 139–150
in Latin America. In: Agroecology and Small Farm
Development (eds Altieri, MA, Hecht, SB) 113–118. Brussaard, L et al. (2007). Soil biodiversity for agricultural
CRC Press: Florida sustainability. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
121, 233–244
Andrivon, D, Lucas, JM & Ellisseche, D (2003).
Development of natural late blight epidemics in pure and Bullock, JM, Pywell, RF & Walker, KJ (2007).
mixed plots of potato cultivars with different levels of Long-term enhancement of agricultural production
partial resistance. Plant Pathology 52, 586 –594 by restoration of biodiversity. Journal of Applied Ecology
44, 6 –12
Araújo, MB (2003). The coincidence of people and
biodiversity in Europe. Global Ecology and Biogeography Burdon JJ & Chilvers GA (1982). Host density as a
12, 5–12 factor in plant disease ecology. Annual Review of
Phytopathology 20, 143–166
Armstrong, W, Armstrong, J & Beckett, PM (1990).
Measurement and modelling of oxygen release from Chapman, SK & Koch, GW (2007). What type of
roots of Phragmites australis. In Constructed Wetlands in diversity yields synergy during mixed litter
Water Pollution Control (eds Cooper, PF & Findlater, BC), decomposition in a natural forest ecosystem?
41– 42. Pergamon Press: Oxford Plant and Soil 299, 153–162

Balvanera, P, Pfisterer, AB, Buchmann, N, He, JS, Chen XW (2006). Tree diversity, carbon storage, and soil
Nakashizuka, T, Raffaelli, D & Schmid, B (2006). nutrient in an old-growth forest at Changbai Mountain,
Quantifying the evidence for biodiversity effects on Northeast China. Communications in Soil Science and
ecosystem functioning and services. Ecology Letters Plant Analysis 37, 363–375
9, 1146 –1156
Ciais, Ph et al. (2005). Europe-wide reduction in primary
Barrios, E (2007). Soil biota, ecosystem services and land productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003.
productivity. Ecological Economics 64, 269––285 Nature 437, 529–533

Bellamy PH, Loveland PJ, Bradley RI, Lark RM, Kirk GJD Condeso TE & Meentemeyer RK (2007). Effects of
(2005). Carbon losses from all soils across England and landscape heterogeneity on the emerging forest disease
Wales 1978–2003. Nature 437, 245–248 sudden oak death. Journal of Ecology 95, 364 –375

Bellon, MR (1996). The dynamics of crop infraspecific Costanza, R et al. (2007). Sustainability or collapse: what
diversity: a conceptual framework at the farmer level. can we learn from integrating the history of humans and
Economic Botany 50, 26 –39 the rest of nature. Ambio 36, 522–527

Belyea, LR & Malmer, N (2004). Carbon sequestration D'Antonio, CM (2000). Fire, plant invasions and global
in peatland: patterns and mechanisms of response to changes. In Invasive Species in a Changing World
climate change. Global Change Biology 10, 1043–1052 (eds Mooney, H & Hobbs, R) 65–94. Island Press: Covela

Bengtsson, J et al. (2005). The effects of organic Dawson, JJC. & Smith, P (2007). Carbon losses from soil
agriculture on biodiversity and abundance: a meta- and its consequences for land-use management. Science
analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 42, 261–269 of the Total Environment 382, 165–190

Biesmeijer, JC et al. (2006). Parallel declines in deJong E, van Roekel GJ, Snijder MHB & Zhang Y (1999).
pollinators and insect-pollinated plants in Britain and the Towards industrial applications of bast fibre pulps. Pulp &
Netherlands. Science 313, 351–354 Paper–Canada 100, 19–22

Bosch, JM & Hewlett, JD (1982). A review of catchment de Ruiter, PC et al. (2005.). The balance between
experiments to determine the effect of vegetation productivity and food web structure in soil ecosystems.
changes on water yield and evapotranspiration. Journal In: Biological diversity and function in soil (ed RD
of Hydrology 55, 2–23 Bardgett, MB Usher & DW Hopkins), pp 139–153.
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
Bradford MA et al. (2002). Impacts of soil faunal
community composition on model grassland ecosystems. de Vallavielle-Pope, C (2004). Management of disease
Science 298, 615– 618 resistance diversity of cultivars of a species in single
fields: controlling epidemics. Comptes Rendus Biologique
Broadmeadow, M et al. (2003). Climate change and 327, 611– 620
British woodland: what does the future hold? Forest
Research Annual Reports and Accounts 2002–2003. Diaz, S et al. (2006). Biodiversity loss threatens human
Edinburgh, HMSO, pp 70 – 83 well-being. PLoS Biology 4(8), e277

EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 59

307–319 No. RE et al. Cereal variety and species relevance for biological control of plant disease. C (2003). Euphytica 156. Comparing the choices diversity and ecosystem function: Can tropical of farmers and breeders: the value of rice landraces multi-species plantations generate greater productivity? in Nepal. The utility of crop genetic Pitchford. with emphasis on disease resistance. Functional Ecology 19. Devine-Wright P. Designing agricultural systems for the Press and Bioversity International5 humid tropics. Jarvis. 1–23 Plant and Soil 288. Ecology 85. Grassland diversity and Dewenter. New York. Science 296. Carbon sequestration in the plant-parasitic nematodes: a five-party interaction. Geoforum 24. A field study. 390 –394 in the European Alps. Rome. Flasche R (1994). CA. Functional group diversity of bee productivity: the interplay of resource availability and pollinators increases crop yield. RW. The use of wild relatives Fitter. JM & Steffan- Foster. Biological control of Fears. FAO: Rome 30. R. Columbia University Ewel. J (1986). food and agriculture. R & Hodgkin. G (2005). Annual mixtures in practice. 369–377 Helgason. 2283–2291 60 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . 2911–2924 405. Effects of cultivar Frati L et al. Meeting water requirements of an expanding world population. M (2007). KAM and Ritchie. A & Willis. Biodiversity and ecosystem function Ecosystems and Environment 123. G. Reviews in Phytopathology 41. 1541–1547 Society of London B 275. 680 – 689 Falkenmark M et al. 1–13 Fitter. 261–270 in soil. AH. CC (2000). I (2008). 813– 837 Hajjar. (2008). Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics Grace. 1689–1691 last 20 years. (1997).Didelot F. Warren PH & Dorren LKA. D & Défago. JPW (1998). Biology Letters 3. Global patterns in biodiversity. Nature. Tylianakis. (2005). Proceedings of the Royal propagule pools. 31– 45 Fuller RA. Phytopathology 90. agricultural soils of Europe. D & Keel. Nature 411. R (2007). T. 245–271 productivity in natural grassland communities? Ecology Letters 10. Tscharntke. Agriculture. Science 307. T. 117–153 Agronomie 20. Does species diversity limit 17. In: Managing biodiversity in agricultural Forest Ecology and Management 233. Farming and the Fate of Wild Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 352. Water Resources Research farm households. R. Plant traffic on epiphytic lichens. Programme (2005). 215–224 Engelhardt KAM & Ritchie ME (2002). Psychological benefits of greenspace Integrity. 431 Flury. 220 –227 et al– Erskine PD. Gaston KJ (2007). Genomic and genetic resources for soil-borne pathogens by fluorescent pseudomonads. Rapid changes in flowering in crop improvement: a survey of developments over the time in British plants. DI et al. Environmental Pollution Pathology 56. Imeson AC. AH & Fitter. ME (2001). (2004). TJ. 205–210 ecosystems (ed D Jarvis. (2006). 165–176 Garrett. KJ (2000). Pickering. Commission for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Daniell. 1307–1312 of macrophyte species richness on wetland ecosystem functioning and services. KA & Mundt. Philosophical Green. 1945–1954. Garrod. Lamb D & Bristow M (2006). pp 407– 425. P. A. 1014 –1022 142. Gilligan. Fitter. 58– 64 Dong LQ & Zhang KQ (2006). Use and potential of wild plants in flow of water. Ploughing up the wood-wide web? Nature Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt 113. T (2007). Ecology 83. BL & Dickson. Maier B & Rey F (2004). Hoehn. M et al. A et al. Regulation of antibiotic production in root-colonizing Pseudomonas spp. Background Study Paper Nature Reviews in Microbiology 3. Brun L & Parisi L (2007). Effects of NO2 and NH3 from road mixtures on scab control in apple orchards. Microbial control of Freibauer. (2007). D & Smale. 550 –555 929–936 Haas. Wald und Baum in den Religionen. JW & the Members of the Soil Biodiversity diversity in maintaining ecosystem services. (1994). Kleczkowski. Host diversity can reduce potato late blight severity for focal and general patterns of Engelhardt. Berger F. C Padoch and HD Cooper). TL (2004). Effects primary inoculum. Nature functioning. AH & Young. K (1993) The economic 687– 689 value of botanical gardens – a recreational perspective. Hajjar. Twyman. (2000). RSR (2002). Geoderma 122. Susceptibility of soils to preferential Heywood. Forest Ecology and Management 195. VH (1999). 34. Irvine KN. FAO: Rome Haas. The effect of aquatic plant species richness on wetland ecosystem Gaston. Husband. and Finckh MR et al. stability and management of protection forests increase with biodiversity. Tree species Gauchan. 2–11 394. JB et al.

IA et al. JS. R (2008). Rome. Food knowledge. Ecological Endangered mutualisms: the conservation of Monographs 68. Naeem. 1–5 (2004). and climate. Journal knowledge. The effects of plant Joshi. Case-control study of Janzen. DW & Waser. Fruit set of highland coffee relative strengths of biotic versus abiotic controls increases with the diversity of pollinating bees. 4. 634 – 644 Hooper. 1538–1542 Lake. Knights. A et al. NM (1998). Evaluating the Klein. Berlin: Springer. Colombo. ecological stability and economics. EG (2007). S & Inchausti. 83–112 Hunt. T. Interaction of bacteria. Trofymov. Root hemiparasites and plant on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current diversity in experimental grassland communities. 1797–1804 10. 1109–1119 Strategic framework for underutilized plant species research and development. Ecological Monographs 75. Jaenicke. Italy Laggoun-Defarge. 89–101 re-examination of responsible factors. The 8% – 4% debate: commercial afforestation and water use in South Africa. DU & Vitousek. fungi. DU et al. 3–35 Nutrition Bulletin 25. Global Change Keesing. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. on ecosystem processes. FJ. Carbon cycling in earth systems––a environmental and social factors influencing soil science perspective. Biocultural diversity in the on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current sustainability of developing country food systems. Ecology Letters 7. JP & Thorp. IR et al. J et al. 3–35 of Ecology 88. T & Sthapit. performance of common plant species. absorbs 7 to 12% of European anthropogenic CO2 Journal of Applied Ecology 45. RE. 235–262. M et al. Inouye. 399– 417 22. 119–140 (2001). Williams. European Journal of Epidemiology Environment 104. Ecologocal Monographs 75. DC Royal Society of London B 274. 716 –727 emissions. PM (1998).Hooper. (2008). Stimm. PM (1997). 121–149 plant-pollinator interactions. 955–961 (eds Loreau. and their nematode grazers: effects on nutrient cycling and plant growth. The area requirements of an ecosystem service: crop pollination by native bee communities in California. Ch Koerner & D Schulze). P (2005). Ingham. HH (2004). Agriculture. RW African Forestry Journal 194. South Kremen. RL. Effects of biodiversity Joshi. (1999). Local adaptation enhances composition and diversity on ecosystem processes. Ecology Letters 33. M. 805– 811 EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 61 . (2007). aerosols. BR (2004). Effects of plant species (ed M Scherer-Lorenzen. Tree diversity the Broadbalk experiment. C. Proceedings of the Ingham. H and Höschle-Zeledon. disease outbreaks. & Vitousek. A test of the Admixing broadleaved to coniferous tree species: a biodiversity–stability theory: meta-analysis of tree review on yield. C. with special reference to Kulmala. (2003). J et al. 485– 498 Huston. In Approaches to Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B Understanding Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function 270. JA. A new feedback mechanism Asia and the Pacific. (2004). 1302–1305 4. RD & Ostfeld. Bugg. P). Modelling the effects of loss of soil biodiversity on ecosystem function. I (eds) (2006). MA & McBride AC (2002). Science 300. Oxford University Press Klein. Ecology Letters 2. H (2002). Chemistry and Physics. CA. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 29. richness on invasion dynamics. (2000). Long-term effects of land use and fertiliser treatments on sulphur transformations in soils from Jactel. F. FS III (2005). N Ecological Modelling 55. and to sub-Saharan Africa. McGrath. (2007). Brockerhoff. pp. E & Duelli. F et al. Soil Biology and Biochemistry reduces herbivory by forest insects. 143–155 Hooper. HW & Wall. Holt. H. Fay. Europe’s terrestrial biosphere microbial indicators (bacteria and testate amoebae). insect abundances and diversity. (2003). Ecology Letters 9. (2005). In Forest diversity and function: temperate and boreal systems Knops. 835– 848 Knoke. Ecology Letters Science 277. Effects of biodiversity Johns. NM. A et al. composition and diversity on nutrient cycling. ER & Coleman. Cut-over peatland regeneration assessment using organic matter and Janssens. Ammer. 557–562 Sri Lanka and Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species. Jactel. 33–50 diversity on disease risk. Atmospheric International Centre for Underutilised Crops. RS (2006). 536 –544 Hooper. (2001). G (2002). SP & Magan. Ecosystems and cryptosporidiosis. 303–313 (1985). H & Brockerhoff. DU & Chapin. linking forests. DU. Zhao. Effects of species Biology 8. JMH et al. B & Mosandl. species diversity effects on insect pest infestations. and European Journal of Forest Research 127. Effects of plant Kearns. 286 –293 Jewitt.

T & Fritze. past and present. Seasonal storage of nutrients by perennial Newman. 37– 44 1334 –1347 62 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . 553–568 Levine. Hector. Forest Ecology and Management organic farming. et al. Journal of Applied Ecology 39. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London B 347. J Pennanen. 25–34 Biodiversity and Conservation 15. Soil fertility and biodiversity in sustainable silviculture. Soil processes are not influenced by the functional Moore. Environment 6. Mols. species diversity may alter the performance of terrestrial Mexico. CMM & Visser. LJ. et al. in a forest outbreak species. P (1997). H. Mycorrhizal fungi influence soil structure. AF & Dickinson. S et al. Soil ecology. Traditional water yield with indigenous non–forest vegetation: a maize storage methods of Mayan farmers in Yucatan. EI (1997). The Switzerland. RS et al. (2004). The economic value services and agriculture In: Nature’s services: societal of ecological services provided by insects. Rainfall effects on molecular biology and physiology. Great tits can reduce Oikos 87. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Crawley. 151–174. Chong JP. 56. Journal of Environmental Management 85. and Cambridge. Fert. M et al. (2007). Biol. P. 25– 41 ecosystems. Science 296. M (2006). 848– 852 Miller. S. Schei. P & 42 (Supplement 1). Soil function in a changing world: biodiversity or ecosystem services: element losses and the role of invertebrate ecosystem engineers. RH et al. Natural pest control Losey. L. JE & Vaughan. European Journal of Soil Biology McNeely. Tidal landforms. Washington.Larsen. Soil invertebrates and ecosystem services. (2002). UK Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers Miller. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 18. Environmental Pollution 146. Lavelle. Landscape-scale genetic variation invasions: relating local process to community pattern. Ecological stability of forests and Mader. Bioscience dependence on natural ecosystems (ed. Neville. Competing conservation goals. Setälä. V (2004). JK (2001). F (1999). AV (2001). (2006). Empirical evidence that declining practices and traditional maize varieties in Cuzalapa. S3–S15 Waage. Science 11. Species diversity and biological Pfrender ME (2007). Phosphorus balance of contrasting herbaceous species in undisturbed and disturbed farming systems. JR (2005). M. A & extinction of experience. KD (2007). ME & Thompson. Naeem. Conservation disturbance. patterns of Larsen. Mooney. A Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species. Biodiversity conservation and the Lawton. Lichen and bryophyte halophytic vegetation and the fate of the lagoon of distribution on oak in London in relation to air pollution Venice. JM (2000). LE. 607– 645 Europe: ethical issues. JB (1995). New Zealand perspective. Can food production deciduous hardwood forests. P. (1997). G Daily). (2006). 191–210 and bark acidity. JA. H (2002). (1995). & Spain. Farmers’ seed selection Naeem. MJ (1998). Euphytica 113. P et al. Agro-biodiversity conservation in Reviews 82. 1009–1020 Naylor. 852– 854 (Dendroctonus ponderosae). Maximizing Latournerie-Moreno. 249–262 Luck. 1120 –1123 34. RC & Binet. Biological Negri. JM & D’Antonio. Soil Biology and Biochemistry Biology 21. O’Neill EM. GW (2007). HA. ME (2002). CM (1999). JD (eds) (2000). Molecular Ecology 16. In the shadow of the cedars: the complexity of soil decomposer food webs under spiritual values of old-growth forests. JR (2008). 1034 –1047 Lavelle. CM. 1694 73. Elton revisited: a review of evidence linking diversity and invasibility. Haimi. et al. P. Journal of Marine Systems 51. 888– 889 Liiri. R & Ehrlich. Functional Ecology 12. Dordrecht: Kluwer erosion of earthworm casts and phosphorus transfers by Academic Press water runoff. 159–193 model system. Soil 30: 7–13 Mock KE. JH. A review of the relationships between human population density and biodiversity. Biodiversity and ecosystem function: 20. 1771–1795 Marrs. Bentz BJ. Thompson. 85–96 Marani. 430 – 443 getting the Ecotron experiment in its correct context. DC: Island Press Louette D & Smale M (2000). World Conservation Union (IUCN): Gland. 3–25 Mabry. (2007). Frontiers in Ecology and the Mexico: implications for seed selection and crop diversity. 332–340 Mark. 331–323 pp. Orwin J & Levine. Lavelle. KJM (2008). European species recruitment in a managed moorland-bracken Journal of Soil Biology 33. Gerken. RM & Jastrow. the mountain pine beetle Science 288. Applied Vegetation be sustainable? Journal Of Applied Ecology 34. 15–26 caterpillar damage in apple orchards. Arbuscular mycorrhizas: Le Bayon.

flooding and plant species diversity and composition on nitrogen channel management in Mediterranean environments cycling and the trace gas balance of soils. 14 –19. (2002). KR (2006). 317–328 Öckinger. to invasion by Conyza bonariensis: effects of native In: Managing Plant Genetic Diversity (ed J Engles. TBH. M. D et al. Wardle. Wilson. Plant and Soil of southern Europe. Future prospects for mental and physical health outcomes of green exercise. resistance of Mediterranean annual communities challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. RK & Myneni. Ecology Letters 11. B (2005). pp 263–289. functional composition. S et al. 339–350 Prieur-Richard. A (1998). proceedings Valuing ecosystem services: a shadow price for net of a Heritage Lottery Fund seminar. Plant diversity in the human diet: weak Nature 449. Ecological 127. Oikos 99. Global and identity of species. The effect water depletion by Eucalyptus spp. JC & Richardson. Journal of Ecology Environment 23. KRJ (2006). Contrasting plant productivity–diversity relationships in temperate and tropical regions: the role of evolutionary history. 3973–3992 Phillips. JM (1997). Ecological Economics 64. M (2007). 835– 842 phylogenetic signal indicates breadth. 991–1000 Pimentel. M. AH & Watkinson. J (2005). G et al. TBH & Wood. 179–200 between human population presence and vertebrate and plant species richness. Biological Conservation 104. HG (2007). MW & Wolfe. 83–98 21. A link between plant environmental and economic costs associated with diversity. The Oostemeijer. WM. 16 –24 Reusch.Newsham. Population and pathogenic fungi in the field. UK EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 63 . in relation to plot size and level of resistance. M & Griffin. Molecular Ecology 16. AR (1995). 2826 –2831 tree diversity. Berlin: Springer global change. 319–337 grasslands. Ecosystem recovery after climatic extremes enhanced by Pautasso. Holdenrieder. An update on the Niklaus PA et al. 273–288 Niklaus. The skeptical environmentalist: Arbuscular mycorrhiza protect an annual grass from root measuring the real state of the world. the rare. JGB et al. The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Richmond. Molecular ecology of & D Schulze). Poceedings of the National Academy Susceptibility to fungal pathogens of forests differing in of Sciences of the USA 102. SL. DM (2008). E & Smith. Kaufmann. Harper. Journal of Applied Ecology in tropical trees. In Our Environmental Heritage. elevated CO2 and soil nitrate. 419– 428 83. PA. 1783–1796 Change Biology 6. 217–223 44. Sellens. JRU. Soil Phillips. 338–346 CABI Publishing Proches. Effects of Poesen. Ecology 86. J on behalf of UK BRAG biodiversity & Pilate. Underutilized crops: trends. Pallen. Vamosi. In: Forest diversity and function: temperate and boreal systems (ed M Scherer-Lorenzen. & Crowe. Shaw. Biodiversity loss and Post. Biotechnology 20. (2005). C & Gotelli. Erosion. & Kwon. NE. Bioscience 58. Quaim. Semi-natural Potvin. J. KC (2000). 454 – 462 Lottery Fund: London Robinson. O & Stenlid. S. A UK BRAG Research of transgenic trees with altered lignification. M (2007). M & de Janvry. late flowering Gentianella germanica and International Journal of Environmental Health Research Gentianopsis cillata in Dutch nutrient-poor calcerious 15. J. Scale dependence of the correlation 10. 157–199 O’Connor. (2002). D (2002). Tree belts integrated of potato variety mixtures on epidemics of late blight into dryland agricultural systems. Nature Strategy: The role of biodiversity in ecosystem function. TP (2005). Bacterial pathogenomics. 607– 612 Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Laanisto. A. Ch Koerner Reusch. Field and pulping performances ecosystems subgroup (2006). M (2005). MJ & Wren. Fitter. Oecologia alien-invasive species in the United States. 1091–1097 use in Argentina: economic and environmental effects. A & Worm. RB (2007). N. landscape. Environment and Development Economics Pautasso. RJ & Smettem. genotypic diversity. A. A (2005). Biodiversity enhances grasslands as population sources for pollinating insects individual performance but does not affect survivorship in agricultural landscapes. (2001). Progress in Physical Geography 282. NJ (2008). 50 –59 Pretty. KK. (2002). TE (2007). Plant and Soil 286. (2002). A-H et al. 540 –548 Economics 52. Ecology Letters 10. 151–159 Pärtel. Pimentel. Mechanisms of Padulosi. Heritage primary production. 245–252 Robson. Bt cotton and pesticide Ecology 88. Annals of 141–151 Applied Biology 147. Hammerli. Peacock. DA & Tate. MS (2005). Soil carbon sequestration ecosystem functioning: distinguishing between number and land-use change: processes and potential. L & Zobel. BW (2007). JWA & Hooke. Ehlers.

Biodiversity and ecosystem (1999). 101–113 Schröter. (2002). Agricultural sustainability and composition for nitrate leaching in grasslands. 241–250 Smale. Brouwer. 89–96 the potential in Europe and the global context. Soil Use and Management 20. S (1999). Wedin. 359–368 context. Commission on Economics 88. P & Williams. DA (2006). 69–72 Shea. S & Ferris. 1308–1319 Environment 104. National 9. the real Vilà. JJ.Röckström. P (2004a). (2006). (1997). Ibanez. Mata. The influence of forest view through a van Wilgen. Ecosystem service supply and van der Heijden. Ecology Letters 8. Oxfordshire: Vokou. 745–758 Programme. J (1995). SM. 34. Functional diversity affects decomposition processes in experimental grasslands. Background Study Paper No. The role of plant diversity and Tilman. (2005). P (2002). Oikos 92. B (2007). MJ. in exploring and protecting agricultural genetic Ecosystem services from agriculture: looking beyond resources. Barron. Robertson. T et al. D. Species richness and wood production: 21. Nature 379. 1160 –1166 Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The influence of functional Functional Ecology 22. 212–218 Wall. 170 –176 26. FAO Symstad. Journal of Industrial Ecology World (eds Raven. Scandinavian assessment of the impact of invasive alien plants Journal of Forest Research 22. Science 277. ED (2003). Comas. Suppressive from a removal experiment. Ecological Research Smith. 109–126 Academy of Sciences Press 64 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC . KD (2001). European Journal of Agronomy 20. Nature 418. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics and Evolution 17. Q (2008). C. (2004). M (2008). D et al. recruitment limitation. 248–254 on ecosystem services in South Africa. L. Applied Soil Ecology 33. Microbial community Usher. D & Knops J (1996). ecosystem 310. GP & Landis. In UK wheat as an efficient and environmentally-friendly Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable source for bioethanol. A long dry summer. A Swift. 270 –273 service management. JS & Newton. Prinz. 201–224 Shin. Science diversity determines plant biodiversity. Atmospheric CO2 sequestration in restored mined peatlands. Smith P (2004b). H (2007). K & Chesson. RA (2000). J. R. A & Tilman. Productivity 119. 857– 874 Schimel JP & Gulledge J (1998). S & de Rouw. Ecosystems and Environment Tilman. 1539–1552 Tscharntke. Vayreda. DH & Virginia. Nature agricultural intensification and biodiversity – ecosystem 452. Palmborg. Pirintsos. Carbon sequestration in croplands: 14. D (2001). The world beneath our Swanston. Journal of Environmental Management Sidle et al. Lupi. J. MGA et al. FAO. 1333–1337 variability and productivity. F. AC (2005).Fears 2007 Genomics and genetic the usual suspects. et al. M. GD. 113–134 Ruane. Lichens as CABI Publishing bioindicators of temporal variations in air quality around Thessaloniki. Ecology intensive production practices. Valuing crop biodiversity: on-farm genetic resources and economic change. A (2006) The role of biotechnology Swinton. T & thing. or something in between? Hydrological Processes Obon. A biome-scale window on job satisfaction and job stress. 75– 87 and sustainability influenced by biodiversity in grassland ecosystems. The ecological basis of alternative as a framework for biological invasions. Hortonian overland flow from Japanese forest plantations – an aberration. Journal of the Soil the right questions? Agriculture. American Journal of Agricultural resources for food and agriculture. WS (2007). Mixtures of feet: soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. J. Soils as carbon sinks – the global Ecoscience 8. 1300 –1302 Scherer-Lorenzen. M (2006).& Sonnino. (2005). 671– 677 84. Community ecology theory Vandermeer. A & Schulze. Ecosystems and Science Society of America 63. J. (In Press). Landscape perspectives on Schiermeier. Tilman. 424 – 435 service of the soil food web: effects of environmental management. 3237–3247 a positive association in Mediterranean forests. Trends in Ecology agriculture. (2007). Ecology Letters 10. 229–236 Waddington. Diversity loss. 547–555 diversity and composition on ecosystem processes. Mycorrhizal fungal vulnerability to global change in Europe. D et al. J. Agriculture. Understanding biological structure and global trace gases. D et al. and ecosystem functioning: lessons learned Sanchez-Moreno. On-farm spatial and temporal variability of soil services in agricultural landscapes––are we asking and water in pearl millet cultivation. SA & Loppi. BW et al. Global Change Biology diversity in soil: the UK’s Soil Biodiversity Research 4. Nature 396. northern Greece. Galle. M. MB et al. JM & Warner. 718–720 Scherer-Lorenzen. TA) 225–241. (1998).

Wardle. Ecological Economics 64. Ecosystem services and UK: ICUC dis-services to agriculture. 718–722 Worm. S et al. Williams. YY et al. D et al. Maintenance of soil functioning following erosion of microbial diversity. Southampton. (2006). A (1998). Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Global research on 16 –26 underutilized crops: an assessment of current activities and proposals for enhanced cooperation. 92–112 control in rice. N (2002). W et al. Nature 406. Science 314. (2004). Environmental Zell. B et al (2006). (2007). 2162–2169 re-emergence of infectious diseases. R (2004). 787–790 EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 65 . Genetic diversity and disease Science of the Total Environment 362. Global climate change and the emergence/ Microbiology 8. 253–260 Worrall. 97–107 Wertz. A survey of soils aboveground and belowground biota. Plant and Soil 198. 1629–1633 produced by hyphae of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. F et al. Ecological linkages between Wright. Science for aggregate stability and glomalin. (2004). J & Haq. International Journal of Medical Microbiology 293 (Supplement 37). Zhang. (2000). a glycoprotein 304. Can climate change explain increases in DOC flux from upland peat catchments? Zhu. SF & Upadhyaya.

66 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

the EU Commission. on a range of scientific topics. Parliament. EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 67 . indeed. The intention was to investigate whether EASAC could look at ways to take the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment framework forward in a European context given the recent developments in EU policy. what factors were impeding their use. environment and biodiversity policy. had so far failed to provide information on trends in biodiversity in the EU. Parliamentarians were trying to understand whether there were suitable indicators available and. prepared by the European Commission. EASAC Council approved a proposal for this work in June 2006. and in particular the emphasis of EU economic and social policy over broader sustainable development. In a follow-up visit to the European Parliament Environment Committee Secretariat and the Commission’s DG Environment. In May 2006. It was the Committee’s concern that the EU Sustainability report. However.Annex 2 Previous EASAC work on biodiversity Since its inception. such thinking was not in general currency within the Commission and. EASAC has produced eight reports. if so. the governments and public at large within Member States are also seen as audiences for EASAC’s reports. Each of these has had a specific relevance to policy development in the European institutions of governance. and a series of briefing papers. the Royal Society’s Science Policy environment team met with the EASAC Secretariat to discuss the potential for EASAC to undertake a project on ecosystem goods and services. was subject to considerable suspicion from Commission economists. Council and the Economic and Social Committee. the European Parliament Environment Committee commissioned EASAC to prepare a briefing on indicators of biodiversity. although the concept of ecosystem services was recognised as a powerful idea. The EASAC Secretariat agreed to consider how EASAC might respond to these concerns. In the autumn of 2004. it emerged that.

68 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

acting in an individual capacity. the Netherlands Thomas Elmqvist Stockholm University. Special thanks go to Marian Potschin. Germany Martin Zobel Tartu University. Sweden) Georgina Mace (Imperial College) Simon McQueen Mason (University of York) Dan Osborne (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) Juliet Osborne (Rothamsted Research) Marco Pautasso (Imperial College London) Edward Penning Rousell (Middlesex University) John Pickett (Rothamsted Research) Jules Pretty (University of Essex) Dave Raffelli (University of York) Peter Smith (University of Aberdeen) Teja Tscharntke (University of Göttingen) Helmut van Emden (University of Reading) EASAC Ecosystem services and biodiversity | February 2009 | 69 . Experts consulted Richard Abbott (University of St Andrews) Richard Bardgett (Lancaster University) Charles Godfray (University of Oxford) Ian Graham (University of York) Louise Heathwaite (Lancaster University) Phil Ineson (University of York) Mike Jeger (Imperial College London) Alan Jenkins (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) Sven Kullander (Uppsala University. Sweden Andrea Rinaldo University of Padua. Finland Susanna Stoll-Kleemann University of Greifswald. Estonia John Murlis (Secretary) EASAC. Roy Haines Young and colleagues at the University of Nottingham for a major contribution in preparing Annex 1. UK Erwin Bulte Tilburg University. Switzerland Heikki Setälä University of Helsinki. UK During the course of this work. many experts were consulted on the content of Annex 1. and Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne. and we are pleased to acknowledge their contribution. and was reviewed and approved by EASAC Council. Charles Perrings also provided valuable input to the main report.Annex 3 Working Group members and expert consultation This report was prepared by a Working Group of experts. Italy. Members of the Working Group Alastair Fitter (Chairman) University of York.

70 | February 2009 | Ecosystem services and biodiversity EASAC .

eu at EU level . Plymouth.easac. For further information: Ecosystem services and biodiversity in Europe EASAC Secretariat The Royal Society 6–9 Carlton House Terrace London SWIY 5AG tel +44 (0)20 7451 2697 fax +44 (0)20 7925 2620 email easac@royalsociety. UK www.org Ecosystem services and biodiversity in Europe February 2009 EASAC policy report 09 February 2009 ISBN: 978-0-85403-738-4 EASAC RS1163 This report can be found at building science into policy Printed by Latimer Trend & Co Ltd.