Natural functions and services

How are natural goods and services distributed across space and time?

Plants stand at the basis of terrestrial ecosystems and therefore play vital roles in the goods and services that ecosystems provide to mankind and other biodiversity. Quantifying the contributions of plant-based goods and services, however, remains scientifically challenging due to their multidimensional qualities and variation across space and time. In essence, the use of plant-based goods and services is determined by ecological, social and economic dimensions that cannot be quantified in isolation. New, quantitative, approaches are therefore needed that incorporate the multiple dimensions of plant-based goods and services, including their spatial and temporal variation.

What are we aiming for?

Ultimately, we aim to effectively quantify patterns in the distribution of plant-based natural goods and services for further analysis, management and conservation. To this end we study how ecological, social and economic factors can influence the spatial and temporal variation of plant-based goods and services, determining how and when plants provide goods and services using the same techniques as outlined above in a multi-disciplinary approach.  

How can we apply our results?

We explore, test and develop novel approaches to effectively quantify plant-based goods and services in multiple narratives. This includes both individual plant-based approaches, for example a single plant, to system-based approaches, for example whole ecosystems and landscapes. Our research helps to understand how and when plants provide important goods and services, raising awareness, and to what extent the provisioning of goods and services is compatible with contemporary land-uses types, for example sustainable multiple-use management.