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We see two related, but not well-linked fields that together could help us better understand biodiversity and how it, over time, provides benefits to people. The affordances approach in environmental psychology offers a way to understand our perceptual appraisal of landscapes and biodiversity and, to some extent, intentional choice or behavior, i.e., a way of relating the individual to the system s/he/it lives in. In the field of ecology, organism-specific functional traits are similarly understood as the physiological and behavioral characteristics of an organism that informs the way it interacts with its surroundings. Here, we review the often overlooked role of traits in the provisioning of ecosystem services as a potential bridge between affordance theory and applied systems ecology. We propose that many traits can be understood as the basis for the affordances offered by biodiversity, and that they offer a more fruitful way to discuss human–biodiversity relations than do the taxonomic information most often used. Moreover, as emerging transdisciplinary studies indicate, connecting affordances to functional traits allows us to ask questions about the temporal and two-way nature of affordances and perhaps most importantly, can serve as a starting point for more fully bridging the fields of ecology and environmental psychology with respect to how we understand human–biodiversity relationships.
Research news | 2019-01-17
New Lancet report demonstrates why diet and food production must radically change to improve health and avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the planet
Research news | 2019-01-14
Amid global environmental change, water becomes both the victim and the instigator for irreversible damage
Research news | 2019-01-11
Environmental policy instruments must be used to deal with global environmental problems
Research news | 2018-12-20
New study reveals hidden links and potential domino effects between tipping points in climate, ecosystems and societies
Research news | 2018-12-19
How Multi-Actor Dialogues can unlock stalled negotiations
Research news | 2018-12-19
Science director Carl Folke selects some of the most significant articles published during the first ten years of the centre's existence