Trait-based approaches to analyze links between the drivers of change and ecosystem services: Synthesizing existing evidence and future challenges

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


  • Violeta Hevia
  • Berta Martín-López
  • Sara Palomo
  • Marina García-Llorente
  • Francesco de Bello
  • José A. González

Understanding the responses of biodiversity to drivers of change and the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem properties and ecosystem services is a key challenge in the context of global environmental change. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the scientific literature linking direct drivers of change and ecosystem services via functional traits of three taxonomic groups (vegetation, invertebrates, and vertebrates) to: (1) uncover trends and research biases in this field; and (2) synthesize existing empirical evidence. Our results show the existence of important biases in published studies related to ecosystem types, taxonomic groups, direct drivers of change, ecosystem services, geographical range, and the spatial scale of analysis. We found multiple evidence of links between drivers and services mediated by functional traits, particularly between land-use changes and regulating services in vegetation and invertebrates. Seventy-five functional traits were recorded in our sample. However, few of these functional traits were repeatedly found to be associated with both the species responses to direct drivers of change (response traits) and the species effects on the provision of ecosystem services (effect traits). Our results highlight the existence of potential "key functional traits," understood as those that have the capacity to influence the provision of multiple ecosystem services, while responding to specific drivers of change, across a variety of systems and organisms. Identifying "key functional traits" would help to develop robust indicator systems to monitor changes in biodiversity and their effects on ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services supply.

ZeitschriftEcology and Evolution
Seiten (von - bis)831-844
Anzahl der Seiten14
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.02.2017