Two new publications from our team. These discuss multifunctionality from different perspective. First how ecological and social science can perceive multifunctionality a bit different and how different ecological functions could produce a cascading effect on different ecosystem services. The second treats how landscape complexity can affect multidiversity and multifunctionality differently.
In the first article, “Ignoring Ecosystem-Service Cascades Undermines Policy for Multifunctional Agricultural Landscapes,”1 we discuss whether the lack of efficiency in many of the agro-environmental schemes can be attributed to that they do not take into account the cascading nature of ecosystem service. Ecosystem services can be divided into two groups; intermediate and final. Intermediate services are those that not directly result in a tangible benefit to humans. These can be for example pollination, biological control and recycling of nutrients. The final services are those that directly can be used by humans, such as production of fruits, clean water, and wood. There are other classification of ecosystem services that perhaps are more often used, such as those defined in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.2 The agro-environmental schemes use different measures to mitigate environmental harm or improve the ecosystem functions in some way. If we can understand how multiple final ecosystem services are benefited by measures, either directly or through multiple or single intermediate ecosystem services, measures can be identified that simultaneously can benefit private and public goods. Even if solutions with measures that benefits both public and private goods are less efficient in terms of promoting yields compared to other solutions, policies to promote them may be cost-efficient since the private benefit reduces the need for public payment. Furthermore, by understanding the ecosystem service cascade, we can avoid mismatches and misunderstandings between social and ecological definitions of multifunctionality, which can hamper the implementation of synergistic solutions.
The second article, “Relationships between multiple biodiversity components and ecosystem services along a landscape complexity gradient,”3 is more empirical where we test how eight ecosystem service potentials relate to species richness of different organism groups in cereal farming systems. These farming systems were situated along a gradient of landscape complexity. We showed that in these systems multidiversity (overall biodiversity), was positively related to landscape complexity, whereas multifunctionality (overall ecosystem service provision), was not significantly related to either one of these, even if some ecosystem services where. These results challenge the assumption that bio- diversity-friendly landscape management will always simultaneously promote multiple ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Therefore we need measures that both are tailored to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services and that these can be different. Future studies need to also use multi-year data, more and different types of ecosystem services and organism groups at larger spatial scales.
1. Nilsson, L., Andersson, G.K.S, Birkhofer, K., & Smith, H. G., 2017, Ignoring Ecosystem-Service Cascades Undermines Policy for Multifunctional Agricultural Landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 5:109
2. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005, Synthesis report, Island Press, Washington, DC.
3. Birkhofer, K., Andersson, G.K.S., Bengtsson, J., Bommarco, R., Dänhardt, J., Ekbom, B. et al., 2018, Relationships between multiple biodiversity components and ecosystem services along a landscape complexity gradient. Biological Conservation. 218:247-253