Biodiversity and ecosystem services: a multilayered relationship

Trends Ecol Evol. 2012 Jan;27(1):19-26. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.08.006. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


The relationship between biodiversity and the rapidly expanding research and policy field of ecosystem services is confused and is damaging efforts to create coherent policy. Using the widely accepted Convention on Biological Diversity definition of biodiversity and work for the U.K. National Ecosystem Assessment we show that biodiversity has key roles at all levels of the ecosystem service hierarchy: as a regulator of underpinning ecosystem processes, as a final ecosystem service and as a good that is subject to valuation, whether economic or otherwise. Ecosystem science and practice has not yet absorbed the lessons of this complex relationship, which suggests an urgent need to develop the interdisciplinary science of ecosystem management bringing together ecologists, conservation biologists, resource economists and others.

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity*
  • Ecosystem*
  • United Kingdom