Restoration of ecosystem services and biodiversity: conflicts and opportunities

Restoration of ecosystem services and biodiversity: conflicts and opportunities


Although the science and practice of ecological restoration have developed rapidly, the emerging policy focus on ecosystem services represents a significant shift in the objectives of restoration. This might result in both conflicts and opportunities. This review article explores in detail the implications of this policy shift by examining whether ecological restoration could be effective in reversing the decline of ecosystem services along with biodiversity.

Research goals & methods

While there are many positive examples of restoration projects that successfully led to increased diversity and increased ecosystem services, there are also examples of restoration projects with mixed outcomes. The policy shift towards restoration of ecosystem services might lead towards the selection of projects based on provision of a single service. While some of these services, such as coastal protection or soil stabilization, fit easily into restoration projects, other services may be at the expense of other ecosystem goals.

Conclusions & takeaways

Although the reference goal might not be achieved, restoration tends to increase ecosystem services compared with the degraded systems. However, valuation can be a challenge. The costs on a per-hectare basis of comparable restoration projects can vary widely, and methods for valuation themselves vary. PES as currently structured warrant improvement to reduce transaction costs and improve long-term land security.


Bullock JM, Aronson J, Newton AC, Pywell RF, Rey-Benayas JM. Restoration of ecosystem services and biodiversity: conflicts and opportunities. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 2011;26:541–549. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2011.06.011.


  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK
  • CNRS, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, Montpellier, France
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, St Louis, MO, USA
  • School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Poole, Dorset, UK
  • Ecology Department, Edificio de Ciencias, Alcala University, Spain