Temporal patterns in ecosystem services research: A review and three recommendations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Temporal aspects of ecosystem services have gained surprisingly little attention given that ecosystem service flows are not static but change over time. We present the first systematic review to describe and establish how studies have assessed temporal patterns in supply and demand of ecosystem services. 295 studies, 2% of all studies engaging with the ecosystem service concept, considered changes in ecosystem services over time. Changes were mainly characterised as monotonic and linear (81%), rather than non-linear or through system shocks. Further, a lack of focus of changing ecosystem service demand (rather than supply) hampers our understanding of the temporal patterns of ecosystem services provision and use. Future studies on changes in ecosystem services over time should (1) more explicitly study temporal patterns, (2) analyse trade-offs and synergies between services over time, and (3) integrate changes in supply and demand and involve and empower stakeholders in temporal ecosystem services research.


External organisations
  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
  • Arizona State University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Physical Geography
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalAmbio: a Journal of Human Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 27
Publication categoryResearch