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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Resilience of ecosystem processes: a new approach shows that functional redundancy of biological control services is reduced by landscape simplification

Feit, Benjamin; Bluthgen, Nico; Traugott, Michael; Jonsson, Mattias


Functional redundancy can increase the resilience of ecosystem processes by providing insurance against species loss and the effects of abundance fluctuations. However, due to the difficulty of assessing individual species' contributions and the lack of a metric allowing for a quantification of redundancy within communities, few attempts have been made to estimate redundancy for individual ecosystem processes. We present a new method linking interaction metrics with metabolic theory that allows for a quantification of redundancy at the level of ecosystem processes. Using this approach, redundancy in the predation on aphids and other prey by natural enemies across a landscape heterogeneity gradient was estimated. Functional redundancy of predators was high in heterogeneous landscapes, low in homogeneous landscapes and scaled with predator specialisation. Our approach allows quantifying functional redundancy within communities and can be used to assess the role of functional redundancy across a wide variety of ecosystem processes and environmental factors.


Agricultural intensification; biological pest control; ecosystem function; ecosystem service; exponential Shannon entropy; land use; pest; predator; resilience

Published in

Ecology Letters
2019, volume: 22, number: 10, pages: 1568-1577
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Bluthgen, Nico
Darmstadt University of Technology
Traugott, Michael
University of Innsbruck
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

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