The value of understanding feedbacks from ecosystem functions to species for managing ecosystems
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Hui XiaoHui Xiao, Eve McDonald-Madden, Régis Sabbadin, Nathalie Peyrard, Laura E Dee, Iadine Chadès
Ecological systems are made up of complex and often unknown interactions and feedbacks. Uncovering these interactions and feedbacks among species, ecosystem functions, and ecosystem services is challenging, costly, and time-consuming. Here, we ask: for which ecosystem features does resolving the uncertainty about the feedbacks from ecosystem function to species improve management outcomes? We develop a dynamic value of information analysis for risk-neutral and risk-prone managers on motif ecosystems and explore the influence of five ecological features. We find that learning the feedbacks from ecosystem function to species does not improve management outcomes for maximising biodiversity, yet learning which species benefit from an ecosystem function improves management outcomes for ecosystem services by up to 25% for risk-neutral managers and 231% for risk-prone managers. Our general approach provides useful guidance for managers and researchers on when learning feedbacks from ecosystem function to species can improve management outcomes for multiple conservation objectives.