Final ecosystem services (i.e. services that directly benefit humanity) depend fundamentally upon the various processes, regulated by organisms, which underpin ecosystem functioning and maintain ecosystem structures. Such processes include inter alia primary productivity, detritus decomposition, pollination, soil formation, and nutrient uptake and fixation. Insights into the abiotic, biotic, and spatial factors regulating these supporting ecosystem processes have arisen from within multiple fields of ecology which have not always been well integrated, including research on biodiversityecosystem functioning (B-EF) and biodiversityecosystem service (B-ES) relationships, meta-ecosystem ecology, and ecological resilience. Here, we draw together insights from these fields towards a framework suitable for addressing impacts of human disturbances on ecosystem processes and the services they support. We further discuss application of portfolio theory and a trait-based framework as unifying approaches in the assessment and management of ecosystem functioning and services, and identify a set of resilience attributes useful for assessing the resilience of ecosystem structure, functioning, and service delivery. Finally, we discuss future research challenges and opportunities, including uncertainties involved in linking species traits and interactions with ecosystem functioning and services. We conclude that the necessary theory and tools are already in place to begin the unification of B-EF, B-ES, meta-ecosystem, and resilience frameworks and to test their application in the assessment and management of ecosystem services.
Elsevier, 2015. 55-96 p.