Conference in Brisbane, Australia

Ecology in the Anthropocene (25th to 29th November 2018)

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Abstract of my talk

What should we plant to maximise the supply of multiple ecosystem services in the long-term?

Sebastian Fiedler, José Monteiro, Michael P. Perring, Britta Tietjen

The delivery of ecosystem services (ES) that people rely on for their well-being is declining world-wide which is likely to continue in the light of multiple global changes. Ecological restoration can assist ecosystems in a way that improves their long-term supply of ES and makes them resilient to future threats, especially in biodiversity hotspots such as Mediterranean-type ecosystems (MTEs). Successful realisation of such a strategy requires a fundamental understanding of the link between ecosystem composition, related ecosystem functions and ES, and influencing environmental factors. Measurable plant traits have been recognised as such a link. Until now, however, trait-based research that addresses trade-offs among multiple ES under the impact of multiple environmental factors to reliably support restoration in MTEs is missing. We started closing this gap by integrating empirical research and process-based simulation modelling. We developed an eco-hydrological simulation model complementing an ongoing large-scale restoration project in Western Australia (the Ridgefield experiment). For a given vegetation composition and other properties of the ecosystem processes for vegetation, nutrient and water dynamics are calculated and the delivery of ES are quantified. In a full factorial design of different plant trait compositions and influencing environmental factors, trade-offs among ES are assessed, and the resilience of the ecosystem towards multiple factors of global change are tested. Preliminary results show that there are assemblages of plant traits that minimise trade-offs among ES under global change. These findings will aid in improving restoration towards the long-term supply of multiple ecosystem services in MTEs in Australia and globally.

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