Temporal patterns in ecosystem services research: A review and three recommendations

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


Temporal aspects of ecosystem services have gained surprisingly little attention given that ecosystem service flows are not static but change over time. We present the first systematic review to describe and establish how studies have assessed temporal patterns in supply and demand of ecosystem services. 295 studies, 2% of all studies engaging with the ecosystem service concept, considered changes in ecosystem services over time. Changes were mainly characterised as monotonic and linear (81%), rather than non-linear or through system shocks. Further, a lack of focus of changing ecosystem service demand (rather than supply) hampers our understanding of the temporal patterns of ecosystem services provision and use. Future studies on changes in ecosystem services over time should (1) more explicitly study temporal patterns, (2) analyse trade-offs and synergies between services over time, and (3) integrate changes in supply and demand and involve and empower stakeholders in temporal ecosystem services research.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1377-1393
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2020

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and by the strategic research environment BECC, hosted by CEC at Lund University.

    Research areas

  • Ecosystems Research - ecosystem services dynamics, Ecosystem services supply, Linear change, Periodic change, Stakeholder involvement