Understanding relationships among multiple ecosystem services

Ecol Lett. 2009 Dec;12(12):1394-404. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01387.x. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Ecosystem management that attempts to maximize the production of one ecosystem service often results in substantial declines in the provision of other ecosystem services. For this reason, recent studies have called for increased attention to development of a theoretical understanding behind the relationships among ecosystem services. Here, we review the literature on ecosystem services and propose a typology of relationships between ecosystem services based on the role of drivers and the interactions between services. We use this typology to develop three propositions to help drive ecological science towards a better understanding of the relationships among multiple ecosystem services. Research which aims to understand the relationships among multiple ecosystem services and the mechanisms behind these relationships will improve our ability to sustainably manage landscapes to provide multiple ecosystem services.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Ecosystem*
  • Humans
  • Sociology