Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): 72-84.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015170

Special Issue: 生物多样性与生态系统功能

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A review on the measurement of ecosystem multifunctionality

Wei Xu1, Xin Jing1, Zhiyuan Ma1, Jin-Sheng He1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871
    2 Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008
  • Received:2015-06-17 Accepted:2015-10-16 Online:2016-01-20 Published:2016-06-12
  • Contact: He Jin-Sheng


The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality (BEMF) is a hot issue in current ecological studies. The measurement of ecosystem multifunctionality (EMF) is a crucial aspect of BEMF research; however, the metrics of EMF have been inconsistent among previous studies. We reviewed seven approaches of quantifying EMF (single function approach, turnover approach, averaging approach, single threshold approach, multiple thresholds approach, orthologous approach and multivariate model approach) and classified the related studies based on the metrics of EMF used. We illustrated the multiple-threshold approach with published data from our previous work to help researchers better understand the approach. The inconsistent use of EMF metrics made it difficult to compare different studies, which constrains further development of BEMF research. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop a general approach to measuring multifunctionality appropriately.

Key words: biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem multifunctionality, multifunctionality index