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      A Quantitative Review of Urban Ecosystem Service Assessments: Concepts, Models, and Implementation

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          Abstract

          Although a number of comprehensive reviews have examined global ecosystem services (ES), few have focused on studies that assess urban ecosystem services (UES). Given that more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, understanding the dualism of the provision of and need for UES is of critical importance. Which UES are the focus of research, and what types of urban land use are examined? Are models or decision support systems used to assess the provision of UES? Are trade-offs considered? Do studies of UES engage stakeholders? To address these questions, we analyzed 217 papers derived from an ISI Web of Knowledge search using a set of standardized criteria. The results indicate that most UES studies have been undertaken in Europe, North America, and China, at city scale. Assessment methods involve bio-physical models, Geographical Information Systems, and valuation, but few study findings have been implemented as land use policy.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13280-014-0504-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 157

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          Science for managing ecosystem services: Beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

          The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) introduced a new framework for analyzing social-ecological systems that has had wide influence in the policy and scientific communities. Studies after the MA are taking up new challenges in the basic science needed to assess, project, and manage flows of ecosystem services and effects on human well-being. Yet, our ability to draw general conclusions remains limited by focus on discipline-bound sectors of the full social-ecological system. At the same time, some polices and practices intended to improve ecosystem services and human well-being are based on untested assumptions and sparse information. The people who are affected and those who provide resources are increasingly asking for evidence that interventions improve ecosystem services and human well-being. New research is needed that considers the full ensemble of processes and feedbacks, for a range of biophysical and social systems, to better understand and manage the dynamics of the relationship between humans and the ecosystems on which they rely. Such research will expand the capacity to address fundamental questions about complex social-ecological systems while evaluating assumptions of policies and practices intended to advance human well-being through improved ecosystem services.
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            Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation?

            To investigate the strength of the relation between the amount of green space in people's living environment and their perceived general health. This relation is analysed for different age and socioeconomic groups. Furthermore, it is analysed separately for urban and more rural areas, because the strength of the relation was expected to vary with urbanity. The study includes 250 782 people registered with 104 general practices who filled in a self administered form on sociodemographic background and perceived general health. The percentage of green space (urban green space, agricultural space, natural green space) within a one kilometre and three kilometre radius around the postal code coordinates was calculated for each household. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed at three levels-that is, individual level, family level, and practice level-controlled for sociodemographic characteristics. The percentage of green space inside a one kilometre and a three kilometre radius had a significant relation to perceived general health. The relation was generally present at all degrees of urbanity. The overall relation is somewhat stronger for lower socioeconomic groups. Elderly, youth, and secondary educated people in large cities seem to benefit more from presence of green areas in their living environment than other groups in large cities. This research shows that the percentage of green space in people's living environment has a positive association with the perceived general health of residents. Green space seems to be more than just a luxury and consequently the development of green space should be allocated a more central position in spatial planning policy.
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              Managing ecosystem services: what do we need to know about their ecology?

               Claire Kremen (2005)
              Human domination of the biosphere has greatly altered ecosystems, often overwhelming their capacity to provide ecosystem services critical to our survival. Yet ecological understanding of ecosystem services is quite limited. Previous work maps the supply and demand for services, assesses threats to them, and estimates economic values, but does not measure the underlying role of biodiversity in providing services. In contrast, experimental studies of biodiversity-function examine communities whose structures often differ markedly from those providing services in real landscapes. A bridge is needed between these two approaches. To develop this research agenda, I discuss critical questions and key approaches in four areas: (1) identifying the important 'ecosystem service providers'; (2) determining the various aspects of community structure that influence function in real landscapes, especially compensatory community responses that stabilize function, or non-random extinction sequences that rapidly erode it; (3) assessing key environmental factors influencing provision of services, and (4) measuring the spatio-temporal scale over which providers and services operate. I show how this research agenda can assist in developing environmental policy and natural resource management plans.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                dagmar.haase@ufz.de , dagmar.haase@geo.hu-berlin.de
                neele.larondelle@geo.hu-berlin.de
                erik.andersson@stockholmresilience.su.se
                Martina.Artmann@sbg.ac.at
                sarab@ecology.su.se
                juergen.breuste@sbg.ac.at
                erik.gomez@uam.es
                asa.gren@beijer.kva.se
                hamsz235@newschool.edu
                hansen@tum.de
                nadja-kabisch@geo.hu-berlin.de
                kremerp@newschool.edu
                johannes.langemeyer@googlemail.com
                e.rall@tum.de
                mcphearp@newschool.edu
                pauleit@wzw.tum.de
                salman-qureshi@geo.hu-berlin.de
                nina.schwarz@ufz.de
                Annette.Voigt@sbg.ac.at
                daniel.wurster@gmx.at
                thomase@ecology.su.se
                Journal
                Ambio
                Ambio
                Ambio
                Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
                0044-7447
                1654-7209
                17 April 2014
                17 April 2014
                May 2014
                : 43
                : 4
                : 413-433
                Affiliations
                [ ]Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany
                [ ]Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Leipzig, Germany
                [ ]Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm, Sweden
                [ ]Paris Lodron University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
                [ ]Universitá Autonomá de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
                [ ]Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics in Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
                [ ]Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy, The New School, New York, NY USA
                [ ]Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany
                [ ]Tishman Environment and Design Center, The New School, New York, NY USA
                Article
                504
                10.1007/s13280-014-0504-0
                3989520
                24740614
                © The Author(s) 2014

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

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                Article
                Custom metadata
                © Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2014

                Sociology

                policy implementation, models, urban ecosystem services, review, demand-provisioning

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