"Functional diversity and nature’s benefits to people in real landscapes" by Prof Sandra Diaz

Past Event

15 February 2013, 5:15pm - 6:45pm


This seminar is run by the Oxford Centre for Tropical Forests, an Oxford Martin School Centre

Summary: The fact that biodiversity is affected by environmental change drivers is now widely accepted and documented. Its role as an active driver of change, affecting ecosystem processes and services, has also received increasing attention. However, species number, the most common metric of biodiversity, is often not a meaningful indicator of many ecosystem processes in the real ecosystems that are managed by people. Functional trait diversity (the kind, range and relative abundance of the functional traits of the organism present in a system) appears more promising in understanding the links between biodiversity and the various benefits that societies derive from ecosystems. Three main components of functional trait diversity can be identified: community weighted mean trait value, range of trait values, and trait values or species with idiosyncratic effects. The role of each of these components in determining ecosystem properties and services is expected to vary according to the local context and the service in question, and can be determined in real field situations by using a set of recently developed tools. Different social actors acting on the same landscape give priority to different services, and to that end manipulate all three components of functional diversity, resulting in socio-ecological-evolutionary feedbacks. These little studied feedbacks are at the core of the functioning and vulnerability of ecosystems and their social benefits in real landscapes.

Speaker: Professor Sandra Diaz, Professor of Community and Ecosystems Ecology, Cordoba National University and Visiting Professor, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

Venue: Halford Mackinder Lecture Theatre, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford

The seminars will be followed by drinks

For further information please contact jane.applegarth@eci.ox.ac.uk | +44 (0)1865 285190 (Direct)