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  1. Abstract Human-driven threats are changing biodiversity, impacting ecosystem services. The loss of one species can trigger secondary extinctions of additional species, because species interact–yet the consequences of these secondary extinctions for services remain underexplored. Herein, we compare robustness of food webs and the ecosystem services (hereafter ‘services’) they provide; and investigate factors determining service responses to secondary extinctions. Simulating twelve extinction scenarios for estuarine food webs with seven services, we find that food web and service robustness are highly correlated, but that robustness varies across services depending on their trophic level and redundancy. Further, we find that species providing services do not play a critical role in stabilizing food webs – whereas species playing supporting roles in services through interactions are critical to the robustness of both food webs and services. Together, our results reveal indirect risks to services through secondary species losses and predictable differences in vulnerability across services.
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2024
  3. null (Ed.)
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  6. Brose, Ulrich (Ed.)
  7. Abstract Eutrophication is a widespread environmental change that usually reduces the stabilizing effect of plant diversity on productivity in local communities. Whether this effect is scale dependent remains to be elucidated. Here, we determine the relationship between plant diversity and temporal stability of productivity for 243 plant communities from 42 grasslands across the globe and quantify the effect of chronic fertilization on these relationships. Unfertilized local communities with more plant species exhibit greater asynchronous dynamics among species in response to natural environmental fluctuations, resulting in greater local stability (alpha stability). Moreover, neighborhood communities that have greater spatial variation in plant species composition within sites (higher beta diversity) have greater spatial asynchrony of productivity among communities, resulting in greater stability at the larger scale (gamma stability). Importantly, fertilization consistently weakens the contribution of plant diversity to both of these stabilizing mechanisms, thus diminishing the positive effect of biodiversity on stability at differing spatial scales. Our findings suggest that preserving grassland functional stability requires conservation of plant diversity within and among ecological communities.
  8. Feedbacks are an essential feature of resilient socio-economic systems, yet the feedbacks between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human wellbeing are not fully accounted for in global policy efforts that consider future scenarios for human activities and their consequences for nature. Failure to integrate feedbacks in our knowledge frameworks exacerbates uncertainty in future projections and potentially prevents us from realizing the full benefits of actions we can take to enhance sustainability. We identify six scientific research challenges that, if addressed, could allow future policy, conservation and monitoring efforts to quantitatively account for ecosystem and societal consequences of biodiversity change. Placing feedbacks prominently in our frameworks would lead to (i) coordinated observation of biodiversity change, ecosystem functions and human actions, (ii) joint experiment and observation programmes, (iii) more effective use of emerging technologies in biodiversity science and policy, and (iv) a more inclusive and integrated global community of biodiversity observers. To meet these challenges, we outline a five-point action plan for collaboration and connection among scientists and policymakers that emphasizes diversity, inclusion and open access. Efforts to protect biodiversity require the best possible scientific understanding of human activities, biodiversity trends, ecosystem functions and—critically—the feedbacks among them.