Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (1): 55.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015091

Special Issue: 生物多样性与生态系统功能

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality: advances and perspectives

Wei Xu1, Zhiyuan Ma1, Xin Jing1, 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
  • Online:2016-01-20 Published:2016-06-12
  • Contact: He Jin-Sheng


As global biodiversity losses accelerate, there is increasing evidence shows that there may be negative impacts on ecosystem functioning, such as declines in plant primary productivity and imbalances in nutrient cycling. Thus, it is critical to understand the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF). However, ecosystems can provide multiple functions simultaneously (ecosystem multifunctionality, EMF). Since 2007, the quantification of relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality (BEMF) has generated additional questions and controversies, such as the lack of consensus in appropriate multifunctionality indices and uncertain trade-offs among ecosystem functions. In this review, we briefly summarize the history of BEMF studies and the methods of EMF quantification, then outline the mechanisms of EMF maintenance and current research progress. We emphasize the importance of optimizing EMF quantifications and investigating the relationship between different dimensions of biodiversity and EMF. We also provide suggestions and directions for future research on BEMF.

Key words: ecosystem functioning, species loss, multifunctionality indices, multiple functions