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Effective Conservation ScienceData Not Dogma$
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Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001

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Are local losses of biodiversity causing degraded ecosystem function?

Are local losses of biodiversity causing degraded ecosystem function?

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter 4 Are local losses of biodiversity causing degraded ecosystem function?
Source:
Effective Conservation Science
Author(s):

Mark Vellend

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198808978.003.0004

This chapter highlights the scale dependence of biodiversity change over time and its consequences for arguments about the instrumental value of biodiversity. While biodiversity is in decline on a global scale, the temporal trends on regional and local scales include cases of biodiversity increase, no change, and decline. Environmental change, anthropogenic or otherwise, causes both local extirpation and colonization of species, and thus turnover in species composition, but not necessarily declines in biodiversity. In some situations, such as plants at the regional scale, human-mediated colonizations have greatly outnumbered extinctions, thus causing a marked increase in species richness. Since the potential influence of biodiversity on ecosystem function and services is mediated to a large degree by local or neighborhood species interactions, these results challenge the generality of the argument that biodiversity loss is putting at risk the ecosystem service benefits people receive from nature.

Keywords:   biodiversity, conservation, ecosystem function, ecosystem services, extinction, non-native species, spatial scale, species richness

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