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Land use intensification alters ecosystem multifunctionality via loss of biodiversity and changes to functional composition.

Ecol. Lett. 18, 834-843 (2015)
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Global change, especially land-use intensification, affects human well-being by impacting the delivery of multiple ecosystem services (multifunctionality). However, whether biodiversity loss is a major component of global change effects on multifunctionality in real-world ecosystems, as in experimental ones, remains unclear. Therefore, we assessed biodiversity, functional composition and 14 ecosystem services on 150 agricultural grasslands differing in land-use intensity. We also introduce five multifunctionality measures in which ecosystem services were weighted according to realistic land-use objectives. We found that indirect land-use effects, i.e. those mediated by biodiversity loss and by changes to functional composition, were as strong as direct effects on average. Their strength varied with land-use objectives and regional context. Biodiversity loss explained indirect effects in a region of intermediate productivity and was most damaging when land-use objectives favoured supporting and cultural services. In contrast, functional composition shifts, towards fast-growing plant species, strongly increased provisioning services in more inherently unproductive grasslands.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Biodiversity-ecosystem Functioning ; Ecosystem Services ; Global Change ; Land Use ; Multifunctionality; Plant-species Richness; Grassland Communities; Use Intensity; Services; Diversity; Productivity; Management; Fertilization; Tradeoffs; Landscape
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