Ecological Function Analysis: Incorporating Species Roles into Conservation

Jedediah F. Brodie, Kent H. Redford, Daniel F. Doak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Effective conservation strategies must ensure that species remain not just extant, but able to maintain key roles in species interactions and in the maintenance of communities and ecosystems. Such ecological functions, however, have not been well incorporated into management or policy. We present a framework for quantifying ecological function that is complementary to population viability analysis (PVA) and that allows function to be integrated into strategic planning processes. Ecological function analysis (EFA) focuses on preventing secondary extinctions and maintaining ecosystem structure, biogeochemical processes, and resiliency. EFA can use a range of modeling approaches and, because most species interactions are relatively weak, EFA needs to be performed for relatively few species or functions, making it a realistic way to improve conservation management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)840-850
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • biogeochemistry
  • community stability
  • ecosystem function
  • extinction
  • resilience
  • species interactions


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