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Habitat fragmentation intensifies trade-offs between biodiversity and ecosystem services in a heathland ecosystem in southern England

Cordingley, Justine E.; Newton, Adrian C.; Rose, Robert J.; Clarke, Ralph T.; Bullock, James M.. 2015 Habitat fragmentation intensifies trade-offs between biodiversity and ecosystem services in a heathland ecosystem in southern England. PLoS ONE, 10 (6), e0130004. 10.1371/journal.pone.0130004

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Abstract/Summary

While habitat fragmentation represents a major threat to global biodiversity, its impacts on provision of ecosystem services are largely unknown. We analysed biodiversity value and provision of multiple ecosystem services in 110 fragments of lowland heathland ecosystems in southern England, in which vegetation dynamics have been monitored for over 30 years. Decreasing fragment size was found to be associated with a decrease in biodiversity and recreational values, but an increase in relative carbon storage, aesthetic value and timber value. The trade-off between either biodiversity or recreational values with the other ecosystem services therefore became more pronounced as heathland size decreased. This was attributed to a higher rate of woody succession in smaller heathland fragments over the past three decades, and contrasting values of different successional vegetation types for biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services. These results suggest that habitat fragmentation can reduce the potential for developing “win win” solutions that contribute to biodiversity conservation while also supporting socio-economic development. Approaches to multi-purpose management of fragmented landscapes should therefore consider the potential trade-offs in ecosystem services and biodiversity associated with fragmentation, in order to make an effective contribution to sustainable development.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1371/journal.pone.0130004
CEH Sections: CEH fellows
Parr
Pywell
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 26 Aug 2015 15:13 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/511678

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