Service Providing Units

A Service Providing Unit (SPU) is the smallest unit, such as a population or a community at the desired scale that harbours ESPs (ecosystem service providers) (Tschumi et al. 2015). An example of an SPU is a strip of flowering buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentem Benth.) harbouring the parasitic wasp Dolichogenidea tasmanica (Cameron, 1912) a biological control agent of the light-brown apple moth Epiphyas postvittana (Walker).

Examples of Service Providing Units:

Beneficial earwig (acting as a SPU), Forficula auricularia (L.) consuming fly eggs. Video: Harpinder Sandhu, with permission.

Different predators and parasitoids (acting as several SPU) attacking aphids.


Frank S, Wratten S, Sandhu H, Shrewsbury P, 2007. Video analysis to determine how habitat strata affect predator diversity and predation of Epiphyas postvittana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in a vineyard. Biological Control 41:230-236.

Luck G, Daily G, Ehrlich P, 2003. Population diversity and ecosystem services. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18:331–336.

Tschumi M, Albrecht M, Entling M, Jacot K, 2015. High effectiveness of tailored flower strips in reducing pests and crop plant damage. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282: 20151369.