Evosystem services: An evolutionary perspective on the links between biodiversity and human well-being

Daniel P. Faith, Susana Magallón, Andrew P. Hendry, Elena Conti, Tetsukazu Yahara, Michael J. Donoghue

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)


A framework for exploring regional-scale trade-offs among ecosystem services and biodiversity protection has been established for some time, and it is clear that optimizing these trade-offs provides a strategy to address targets for a reduced rate of biodiversity loss. Recent trade-off studies have highlighted the need for better biodiversity measures, to complement measures of ecosystem services. Biodiversity typically has been linked in this context to existence and other non-use values. We argue that biodiversity will have a stronger role in such trade-off analyses if measures of biodiversity better reflect additional current and future services. These 'evosystem services' have been, and, if we are careful, can continue to be provided by the evolutionary process. Some services have been provided through evolution operating in the past, and a phylogenetic diversity measure can help us to quantify these current and potential future benefits derived from the tree of life. Furthermore, a variety of evosystem services are delivered through ongoing contemporary evolution, and value should therefore be placed on the maintenance of healthy evosystems. We argue that the concept of evosystem services could be useful as a complement to the traditional concept of ecosystem services. Together, these reflect a fuller range of the services supported by biodiversity, and thereby provide a sounder basis for conservation planning and decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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