Improving our understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and our capacity to inform ecosystem management requires an integrated framework for functional biodiversity research (FBR). However, adequate integration among empirical approaches (monitoring and experimental) and modelling has rarely been achieved in FBR. We offer an appraisal of the issues involved and chart a course towards enhanced integration. A major element of this path is the joint orientation towards the continuous refinement of a theoretical framework for FBR that links theory testing and generalization with applied research oriented towards the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We further emphasize existing decision-making frameworks as suitable instruments to practically merge these different aims of FBR and bring them into application. This integrated framework requires joint research planning, and should improve communication and stimulate collaboration between modellers and empiricists, thereby overcoming existing reservations and prejudices. The implementation of this integrative research agenda for FBR requires an adaptation in most national and international funding schemes in order to accommodate such joint teams and their more complex structures and data needs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics