Nature 405, 234-242 (11 May 2000) | doi:10.1038/35012241

Consequences of changing biodiversity

F. Stuart Chapin III1, Erika S. Zavaleta2, Valerie T. Eviner4, Rosamond L. Naylor3, Peter M. Vitousek2, Heather L. Reynolds5, David U. Hooper6, Sandra Lavorel7, Osvaldo E. Sala8, Sarah E. Hobbie9, Michelle C. Mack1 & Sandra Díaz10


Human alteration of the global environment has triggered the sixth major extinction event in the history of life and caused widespread changes in the global distribution of organisms. These changes in biodiversity alter ecosystem processes and change the resilience of ecosystems to environmental change. This has profound consequences for services that humans derive from ecosystems. The large ecological and societal consequences of changing biodiversity should be minimized to preserve options for future solutions to global environmental problems.

  1. Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775, USA
  2. Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA
  3. Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA
  4. Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
  5. Department of Biology, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49006, USA
  6. Department of Biology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington 98225, USA
  7. Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS UPR 9056, 34293 Montpellier Cedex 05 , France
  8. Cátedra de Ecología and Instituto de Fisiología y Ecología Vinculadas a la Agricultura, Faculty of Agronomy, University of Buenos Aires, Ave San Martín 4453, Buenos Aires C1417DSE, Argentina
  9. Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA
  10. Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, FCEFyN, Casilla de Correo 495, 5000 Córdoba, Argentina

Correspondence to: F. Stuart Chapin III1 (e-mail: Email: