DOI: 10.1111/ele.14371 ISSN: 1461-023X

A quantitative framework for identifying the role of individual species in Nature's Contributions to People

Giovanni Bianco, Peter Manning, Matthias Schleuning
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


It is widely acknowledged that biodiversity change is affecting human well‐being by altering the supply of Nature's Contributions to People (NCP). Nevertheless, the role of individual species in this relationship remains obscure. In this article, we present a framework that combines the cascade model from ecosystem services research with network theory from community ecology. This allows us to quantitatively link NCP demanded by people to the networks of interacting species that underpin them. We show that this “network cascade” framework can reveal the number, identity and importance of the individual species that drive NCP and of the environmental conditions that support them. This information is highly valuable in demonstrating the importance of biodiversity in supporting human well‐being and can help inform the management of biodiversity in social‐ecological systems.

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