Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
D136, Oregon Convention Center
Jiangxiao Qiu, University of Florida
Matthew G.E. Mitchell, University of British Columbia
Holly V. Moeller, University of California, Santa Barbara
Human actions are causing rapid biodiversity declines worldwide. Recent global assessments reveal that over 75% of species have been lost in the most severely human-impacted ecosystems, and current rates of species extinction are ~ 100 to 1000 times faster than background rates observed in the fossil record. There is now a general consensus that biodiversity loss is altering fundamental processes that underlie the production of ecosystem goods and services essential for human wellbeing (e.g., food, timber, clean air and water). However, most of this consensus has been built from experiments performed at relatively small spatial scales over short time-frames – scales that suffer from a lack of realism and match poorly with the scales at which human actions, conservation policy and management decisions take place. Ecological theory and recent empirical studies suggest that the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services might differ fundamentally in large-scale, real-world landscapes from those revealed in small-scale, controlled experiments. At present, such knowledge is scattered across studies from a range of different systems and ecosystem services.
In response to these research needs, we propose an Organized Oral Session to advance our mechanistic understanding of how biodiversity changes in real-world landscapes may alter the provision of ecosystem services that directly affect human wellbeing. Specifically, this session will bring together knowledge from different systems (e.g., agricultural, urban, forest, marine, etc.) using a diversity of approaches including field studies, modelling, and data synthesis. We aim to (1) synthesize commonalities while addressing variations in biodiversity effects on ecosystem services across different systems; (2) identify general patterns of biodiversity effects on different types of ecosystem services (i.e., provisioning, regulating and cultural services); (3) compare and infer how the effects of biodiversity might scale up from small experiments to real-world landscapes with greater spatial and temporal heterogeneity; and (4) shed light on the role of abiotic and human factors (e.g., landscape management, temperature, nutrients) in mediating mechanistic linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem services. Insights from this session will help identify research priorities that will inform conservation strategies, management and policy initiatives to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services at landscape scales in the Anthropocene.