The influence of temporal variation on relationships between ecosystem services

Robert A. Holland, Felix Eigenbrod, Paul R. Armsworth, Barbara J. Anderson, Chris D. Thomas, Kevin J. Gaston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A growing literature aims to identify areas of congruence in the provision of multiple ecosystem goods and services. However, little attention has been paid to the effect that temporal variation in the provision of such services may have on understanding of these relationships. Due to a lack of temporally and spatially replicated monitoring surveys, such relationships are often assessed using data from disparate time periods. Utilising temporally replicated data for indices of freshwater quality and agricultural production we demonstrate that through time the biophysical values of ecosystem services may vary in a spatially non-uniform way. This can lead to differing conclusions being reached about the strength of relationships between services, which in turn has implications for the prioritisation of areas for management of multiple services. We present this first analysis to illustrate the effect that the use of such temporally disparate datasets may have, and to highlight the need for further research to assess under what circumstances temporal variation of this sort will have the greatest impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3285-3294
Number of pages10
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Ecosystem services
  • Freshwater
  • Spatial congruence
  • Temporal variation

Cite this