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Special Issue "Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Karsten Grunewald

Leibniz Institute of Ecological and Regional Development (IOER), Dresden, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +49-351-4679-227
Fax: +49-351-4679212
Interests: regional and urban development; ecosystem services; landscape change and management; environmental indicators; landscape ecology
Guest Editor
Dr. Olaf Bastian

Environmental Office, Capital City of Dresden, Saxony, Germany
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +49-351-4886114
Interests: nature conservation; ecosystem services; landscape change and management; landscape ecology; urban ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cities are growing worldwide—in their geographical extent with respect to their general and actual macro-economic significance, as well as concerning their total populations. This is particularly true for the numerous global growth centers in Asia. Thereby, land and resource utilization are increasing, in and around agglomeration centers, as well as the requirements for a good quality of life and health. Is urban nature possible in a compact city? Modern urban living, growing infrastructure and attractive work and recreational opportunities must be reconciled with preservation of biodiversity and green spaces. It is widely accepted that city forests, surface waters, parks, and gardens make up a significant part of the quality of life in cities. They represent urban ecological features, provide numerous ecosystem services, such as the adaption to climate change impacts, and are essential for the urban population in terms of environmental education and contact with nature.

Over the next few years, the key question of how to manage the balancing act with ongoing processes of urbanization will still remain. The increasing demand for houses and flats needs to be satisfied, but city borders should not expand too far into rural areas, and sufficient space for the natural environment should be maintained. Analyses of investments in nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based adaptation and maintenance of urban ecosystems are gaining interest, particularly measures that, simultaneously, generate many other services enhancing human well being. However, the implementation of green spaces as parts of urban green infrastructure in urban areas is restricted by competing urban land-use demands, limited areas for (new) green spaces, and limited public financial resources. Multifunctional green spaces are solutions and approaches to make use of the manifold and overlapping benefits on the one hand and addressing the restrictive conditions for implementation on the other hand. Nevertheless, their implementation is confronted with several barriers: missing assessments tools allowing integrated analysis of overlapping ecosystem services, lacking design principles, sectoral views on development and maintenance, traditional models of responsibilities, and funding. To make use of the opportunities of multifunctional urban green spaces, new production schemes, operation and funding models to enhance the implementation in the tension of land use conflicts, limited financial resources, and societal requirements.
In this context, this Special Issue on maintaining ecosystem services to support urban needs invites evidence-based research articles on the following main topics:
  • ­sustainable urban development
  • ecological effects caused by ongoing urbanisation
  • growing cities and resource demand
  • assessment of urban biodiversity
  • urban land use change and impacts on ecosystem services
  • functions and benefits of urban green space
  • relationship between ecosystem services and biodiversity in cities
  • ecosystem service flow between cities and urban fringes
  • quantification of urban ecosystem services (UES) demand
  • maintenance of UES in practice
  • supply and demand of urban ecosystem type

Dr. Karsten Grunewald
Dr. Olaf Bastian
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Benefits of urban green
  • Biodiversity
  • Eco-cities
  • Ecosystem services
  • Functions of urban ecosystems
  • Green cities
  • Green-blue infrastructure
  • Land use demand
  • Mapping
  • Trade-off analysis
  • Urban ecology
  • Urban greening
  • Urban-rural relationship
  • Urban sustainability
  • Urbanization
  • Values of ecosystem services

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Special Issue: “Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs”
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1647; doi:10.3390/su9091647
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
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Abstract
Cities are growing worldwide, in their geographical extent with respect to their general and current macro-economic significance, as well as regarding their total populations [...]
Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Land Use Changes Driven by Urbanisation and Their Environmental Effects (Example of Trnava City, Slovakia)
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1553; doi:10.3390/su9091553
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 25 August 2017 / Accepted: 28 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4168 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Similar to other post-communist countries, Slovakia has undergone significant changes in the last decades—largely through transformation of central planning into a market economy. Unfortunately, this process has been associated with increasing pressure on surrounding ecosystems and their individual components. These changes are subject
[...] Read more.
Similar to other post-communist countries, Slovakia has undergone significant changes in the last decades—largely through transformation of central planning into a market economy. Unfortunately, this process has been associated with increasing pressure on surrounding ecosystems and their individual components. These changes are subject to various influences, e.g., socio-economic, political and environmental; in addition, urbanisation has also had great influence. This is typified by conversion of productive agricultural land and semi-natural ecosystems into built-up area accompanied by the negative ecological impacts of habitat deterioration and fragmentation. The rapidly changing consumption patterns of luxury living, transportation and leisure have increased the negative consequences on ecosystems and these compound the negative environmental trends. This paper evaluates land use changes in Trnava, which is one of the most rapidly developing cities in Slovakia. Evaluation covers 1838–2015, with explicit emphasis on transformation over the last 25–30 years. We present comparison with developments since 1990 in other cities in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany and then discuss the main processes and environmental problems related to these changes, concentrating on the sustainability of current trends and appropriate planning and management responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Specific Features of Parks and Their Impact on Regulation and Cultural Ecosystem Services Provision in Warsaw, Poland
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 792; doi:10.3390/su9050792
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 7 May 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3330 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban parks are important elements of city green infrastructure. Many studies highlight their positive influence on the quality of life and human well-being as well as their significance for sustaining natural processes in built-up areas. For the last decade, much has been written
[...] Read more.
Urban parks are important elements of city green infrastructure. Many studies highlight their positive influence on the quality of life and human well-being as well as their significance for sustaining natural processes in built-up areas. For the last decade, much has been written about urban ecosystem services (ES), however in comparison with the abundance of studies on the potential for delivering ecosystem services by different land use and land cover types, research on the capacity of parks to deliver these services depending on site-specific elements, is relatively uncommon. Thus, this paper reports on research that explored levels of local regulating and cultural ecosystem services delivered by Warsaw parks, as these services are considered as the most important for urban dwellers. The authors based the study on data included in existing policy documents related to environmental and spatial planning for Warsaw, and evaluation of Warsaw green spaces. The assessment included 10 ecosystem services: micro-climate regulation, air quality regulation, noise reduction, balancing rainwater peaks, recreation, social inclusion, physical health benefits, nature experiences, aesthetic appreciation, and sense of identity. The assessment was performed for all Warsaw public parks, covering an area over 2 ha (n = 82). The results enabled us: (1) to assess all parks with respect to their actual impact in delivering 10 studied ecosystem services; (2) to designate their potential capacity to deliver regulating and cultural services; and (3) to allocate all assessed parks into categories that represent their predominant character (multifunctional, with cultural advantage, with regulating advantage or without any predominant function). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Temporal Changes in Ecosystem Services in European Cities in the Continental Biogeographical Region in the Period from 1990–2012
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 665; doi:10.3390/su9040665
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecosystem services (ES) in cities and surrounding suburban areas are one of the major factors which guarantee quality of life. Most studies directly referring to urban ecosystem services are conducted on a local scale or for selected cities. There are few studies which
[...] Read more.
Ecosystem services (ES) in cities and surrounding suburban areas are one of the major factors which guarantee quality of life. Most studies directly referring to urban ecosystem services are conducted on a local scale or for selected cities. There are few studies which focus on temporal changes of the provision of ecosystem services across a large number of cities. This paper analyzes selected land use type (forest, green urban area), soil sealing, selected ecosystem services (food provisioning, climate regulation, recreation), and biodiversity potential in 85 large cities (over 100,000 citizens) from the Continental (Central and Eastern) biogeographical region in Europe. We used the Corine Land Cover (CLC) data for 1990, 2000, 2006, and 2012. Our main findings are as follows: (1) The increase of forest areas was the highest in 2006–2012, and of urban green areas in 2000–2006, mostly in cities in Germany and the western part of the Czech Republic; (2) The process of soil sealing growth occurred in all studied cities and the rate was the most intense in Polish cities; (3) There was a decrease of food production and biodiversity potential in all the analyzed cities; (4) climate regulating services experienced only slight changes; (5) There was a very positive trend of the recreation indicator in most core zones of the cities in Germany and several cities in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Denmark. Moreover, our results of the temporal changes of land use and ES in European cities in the Continental biogeographical region indicate how important it is to monitor CLC and ES for potential spatial planning and regional policy interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle An Investigation of GIS Overlay and PCA Techniques for Urban Environmental Quality Assessment: A Case Study in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 380; doi:10.3390/su9030380
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 4 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (30648 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The United Nations estimates that the global population is going to be double in the coming 40 years, which may cause a negative impact on the environment and human life. Such an impact may instigate increased water demand, overuse of power, anthropogenic noise,
[...] Read more.
The United Nations estimates that the global population is going to be double in the coming 40 years, which may cause a negative impact on the environment and human life. Such an impact may instigate increased water demand, overuse of power, anthropogenic noise, etc. Thus, modelling the Urban Environmental Quality (UEQ) becomes indispensable for a better city planning and an efficient urban sprawl control. This study aims to investigate the ability of using remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques to model the UEQ with a case study in the city of Toronto via deriving different environmental, urban and socio-economic parameters. Remote sensing, GIS and census data were first obtained to derive environmental, urban and socio-economic parameters. Two techniques, GIS overlay and Principal Component Analysis (PCA), were used to integrate all of these environmental, urban and socio-economic parameters. Socio-economic parameters including family income, higher education and land value were used as a reference to assess the outcomes derived from the two integration methods. The outcomes were assessed through evaluating the relationship between the extracted UEQ results and the reference layers. Preliminary findings showed that the GIS overlay represents a better precision and accuracy (71% and 65%), respectively, comparing to the PCA technique. The outcomes of the research can serve as a generic indicator to help the authority for better city planning with consideration of all possible social, environmental and urban requirements or constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle High Biodiversity of Green Infrastructure Does Not Contribute to Recreational Ecosystem Services
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 334; doi:10.3390/su9030334
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2661 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban lakes, especially those of natural origin, provide ecosystem services, recreation being one of the most important and highly valued by city dwellers. Fulfilling the needs of city residents to relax and have contact with nature has become a priority in urbanized areas
[...] Read more.
Urban lakes, especially those of natural origin, provide ecosystem services, recreation being one of the most important and highly valued by city dwellers. Fulfilling the needs of city residents to relax and have contact with nature has become a priority in urbanized areas and has been proven to positively affect people’s health and well-being. The recreational potential of water bodies was identified to be the most important aspect of ecosystem services to the residents of the neighboring areas. An assessment of recreational ecosystem services (RES) provisioning to society based on the real time spent by the citizens and housing values in the urban–rural gradient revealed that the economic benefits of lakes differ in urbanized, suburban and rural landscapes. The growth of cities has led to an increased population density in the surroundings of ecologically valuable areas, resulting in higher pressure from visitors seeking recreational areas. Along with urbanization, the impoverishment of ecosystem functions takes place, limiting their capability to provide ecosystem services. In this work, the provisioning of recreational ecosystem services of 28 floodplain lakes located along the urban–rural gradient of the Warsaw agglomeration was assessed. The relationship between the ecological value of the water bodies, measured using naturalness indices, and the recreational ecosystem services they can provide was assessed. The results showed that the floodplain lakes located along the urban–rural gradient are of great importance to the citizens due to their recreational potential. The provisioning of recreational ecosystem services is poorly connected with the ecological characteristics of the floodplain lakes. Only hemeroby was significantly correlated with provisioning, and there was no relationship with factors such as naturalness of vegetation or water quality, demonstrating that public preference was not generally influenced by high ecological quality. These data should be available to potential buyers and be integrated in spatial planning management plans in order to shape future housing policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Screening of Tree Species for Improving Outdoor Human Thermal Comfort in a Taiwanese City
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 340; doi:10.3390/su9030340
Received: 24 December 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tropical cities can use urban greening designs featuring trees that provide shade and cooling in hot outdoor environments. The cooling effect involves numerous tree characteristics that are not easy to control during planting design, such as the canopy size and the optical properties
[...] Read more.
Tropical cities can use urban greening designs featuring trees that provide shade and cooling in hot outdoor environments. The cooling effect involves numerous tree characteristics that are not easy to control during planting design, such as the canopy size and the optical properties of leaves. Planting the appropriate tree species dominates the cooling effects and the human thermal environment. Based on environmental and plant data, including the tree species, crown diameter of trees, physiologically equivalent temperature (PET), and sky view factor (SVF) in an outdoor space, a series of hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) procedures was implemented to identify the tree species that are appropriate for improving thermal comfort. The results indicated strong correlations between SVF, average crown diameter, and PET. SVF decreased as the average crown diameter increased. For the average crown diameter of trees in an area wider than 1.5 m, the cooling effect was especially dominated by the tree species. Therefore, 15 species were screened by HCA procedures, based on a similar cooling effect. These species had various cooling effects, and were divided into four categories. Tree species, such as Spathodea campanulata and Cinnamomum camphora, had the appropriate crown diameter and cooling effect for the most comfortable thermal environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Achieving a Sustainable Urban Form through Land Use Optimisation: Insights from Bekasi City’s Land-Use Plan (2010–2030)
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 221; doi:10.3390/su9020221
Received: 2 December 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 February 2017 / Published: 6 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3369 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities worldwide have been trying to achieve a sustainable urban form to handle their rapid urban growth. Many sustainable urban forms have been studied and two of them, the compact city and the eco city, were chosen in this study as urban form
[...] Read more.
Cities worldwide have been trying to achieve a sustainable urban form to handle their rapid urban growth. Many sustainable urban forms have been studied and two of them, the compact city and the eco city, were chosen in this study as urban form foundations. Based on these forms, four sustainable city criteria (compactness, compatibility, dependency, and suitability) were considered as necessary functions for land use optimisation. This study presents a land use optimisation as a method for achieving a sustainable urban form. Three optimisation methods (particle swarm optimisation, genetic algorithms, and a local search method) were combined into a single hybrid optimisation method for land use in Bekasi city, Indonesia. It was also used for examining Bekasi city’s land-use-plan (2010–2030) after optimising current (2015) and future land use (2030). After current land use optimisation, the score of sustainable city criteria increased significantly. Three important centres of land use (commercial, industrial, and residential) were also created through clustering the results. These centres were slightly different from centres of the city plan zones. Additional land uses in 2030 were predicted using a nonlinear autoregressive neural network with external input. Three scenarios were used for allocating these additional land uses including sustainable development, government policy, and business-as-usual. Future land use allocation in 2030 found that the sustainable development scenario showed better performance compared to government policy and business-as-usual scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Using the Concepts of Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services to Specify Leitbilder for Compact and Green Cities—The Example of the Landscape Plan of Dresden (Germany)
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 198; doi:10.3390/su9020198
Received: 24 November 2016 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 1 February 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (4914 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the light of ongoing global urbanization and the high pace of resource consumption, there is an urgent need to foster compact cities. Currently, however, we lack integrative guidelines on how to manage trade-offs between urban densification and the provision of green space.
[...] Read more.
In the light of ongoing global urbanization and the high pace of resource consumption, there is an urgent need to foster compact cities. Currently, however, we lack integrative guidelines on how to manage trade-offs between urban densification and the provision of green space. Against this background, this study applies the concepts of green infrastructure and ecosystem services to develop a guideline for landscape planning to foster compact and green cities. The guideline was tested on the example of the landscape plan of Dresden (Germany), which foresees a compact city in a green network. Results show that the concepts of ecosystems services and green infrastructure can support urban practitioners in structuring the complex interrelations between landscape planning and compact and green cities. The developed guideline provides an integrative framework for modular landscape planning that: (1) reflects the spatial heterogeneity and properties of urban ecosystems and landscapes; and (2) considers cities as integrated socio-ecological systems. The case study indicates that a more comprehensive perspective of cities and their ecosystem is required, one that connects green with grey infrastructure. Further research should focus on how the green infrastructure concept can be refined to incorporate strategic planning for compact cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Park Accessibility Impacts Housing Prices in Seoul
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 185; doi:10.3390/su9020185
Received: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3031 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Housing prices are determined by a variety of factors, including the features of the building and the neighborhood environment, and a potential buyer decides to buy a house after reviewing these factors and concluding that it is worth the price. We used Hedonic
[...] Read more.
Housing prices are determined by a variety of factors, including the features of the building and the neighborhood environment, and a potential buyer decides to buy a house after reviewing these factors and concluding that it is worth the price. We used Hedonic Price Methods to find the relationship between monetary value of house and access conditions to urban parks. Two meaningful results were discovered in this study: first, as the distance from the park increases, the value of the park inherent in the housing price decreases; second, the greater walking accessibility, to the park, the higher the park value inherent in housing prices. Despite presenting shorter distances to walk and more entrances, poorly accessible zones were deemed as such due to the necessity of crossing an arterial road. This indicates that the results can define accessibility not as the Euclidian distance but as the shortest walking distance while considering crossroads and park entrances. The results of this study have significant implications for urban park economic impact analyses in Seoul. Also, the increase in housing prices closer to parks supports the idea that access is dependent on the residents’ socioeconomic status. Lastly, the results of this study can improve walking accessibility to the park. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Combining the Conservation of Biodiversity with the Provision of Ecosystem Services in Urban Green Infrastructure Planning: Critical Features Arising from a Case Study in the Metropolitan Area of Rome
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 10; doi:10.3390/su9010010
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 28 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (12057 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A large number of green infrastructure (GI) projects have recently been proposed, planned and implemented in European cities following the adoption of the GI strategy by the EU Commission in 2013. Although this policy tool is closely related to biodiversity conservation targets, some
[...] Read more.
A large number of green infrastructure (GI) projects have recently been proposed, planned and implemented in European cities following the adoption of the GI strategy by the EU Commission in 2013. Although this policy tool is closely related to biodiversity conservation targets, some doubts have arisen as regards the ability of current urban GI to provide beneficial effects not only for human societies but also for the ecological systems that host them. The aim of this work is to review the features that should be considered critical when searching for solutions that simultaneously support biodiversity and guarantee the provision of ecosystem services (ES) in urban areas. Starting from a case study in the metropolitan area of Rome, we highlight the role of urban trees and forests as proxies for overall biodiversity and as main ecosystem service providers. We look beyond the individual functional features of plant species and vegetation communities to promote the biogeographic representativity, ecological coherence and landscape connectivity of new or restored GI elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Recreation Value of Urban Woodland Using the Ecosystem Service Approach in Two Forests in the Munich Metropolitan Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1156; doi:10.3390/su8111156
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recreation is considered an important ecosystem services (ES) in urban woodlands and puts pressure on other ES. Visitor management strategies can be tools to safeguard biodiversity and ES. On-site data are necessary to evaluate the demand for outdoor recreation opportunities in urban woodlands,
[...] Read more.
Recreation is considered an important ecosystem services (ES) in urban woodlands and puts pressure on other ES. Visitor management strategies can be tools to safeguard biodiversity and ES. On-site data are necessary to evaluate the demand for outdoor recreation opportunities in urban woodlands, but also for providing more reliable values for monetization as a basis for multifunctional forest management, and for raising awareness for the importance of urban proximate forests. Such information can also be used for the assessment and monetization of socio-cultural ES, and hence, contribute to developing market-based mechanisms or to promoting these ES. In our paper, we demonstrate methods to describe recreational demand by collecting data from interviews and using camera traps in two forests in the north of Munich for visitor counting. Visitor numbers in the forests were much greater than rough estimations; visitors also had quite long travelling distances to the forests. Jogging or Nordic walking were proven to be important recreational activities. In some of the monitored locations, almost half of the recreationists carried out these sports. Depending on the method chosen, the calculative monetary value of recreation reached up to 15,440 Euro per hectare per year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Valuing Ecosystem Services and Disservices across Heterogeneous Green Spaces
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 853; doi:10.3390/su8090853
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 9 August 2016 / Accepted: 15 August 2016 / Published: 29 August 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2049 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigates small-scale variability in ecosystem services and disservices that is important for sustainable planning in urban areas (including suburbs surrounding the urban core). We quantified and valued natural capital (tree and soil carbon stocks) ecosystem services (annual tree carbon sequestration and
[...] Read more.
This study investigates small-scale variability in ecosystem services and disservices that is important for sustainable planning in urban areas (including suburbs surrounding the urban core). We quantified and valued natural capital (tree and soil carbon stocks) ecosystem services (annual tree carbon sequestration and pollutant uptake, and stormwater runoff reduction) and disservices (greenhouse gas emissions and soil soluble reactive phosphorus) within a 30-hectare heterogeneous green space that included approximately 13% wetland, 13% prairie, 16% forest, and 55% subdivision. We found similar soil organic carbon across green space types, but spatial heterogeneity in other ecosystem services and disservices. The value of forest tree carbon stock was estimated at approximately $10,000 per hectare. Tree carbon sequestration, and pollutant uptake added benefits of $1000+ per hectare per year. Annual per hectare benefits from tree carbon stock and ecosystem services in the subdivision were each 63% of forest values. Total annual greenhouse gas emissions had significant spatial and temporal variation. Soil soluble reactive phosphorus was significantly higher in the wetland than in forest and prairie. Our results have implications for urban planning. Adding or improving ecosystem service provision on small (private or public) urban or suburban lots may benefit from careful consideration of small-scale variability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Green Infrastructure Impacts on Climate Regulation Services in Sydney, Australia
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 788; doi:10.3390/su8080788
Received: 1 April 2016 / Revised: 31 July 2016 / Accepted: 6 August 2016 / Published: 11 August 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3326 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In many parts of the world, urban planning has a renewed focus on addressing the multiple challenges associated with population growth and climate change. Focused on local needs and priorities, these planning processes are raising tensions between more compact and dense urban form
[...] Read more.
In many parts of the world, urban planning has a renewed focus on addressing the multiple challenges associated with population growth and climate change. Focused on local needs and priorities, these planning processes are raising tensions between more compact and dense urban form to reduce energy use and associated emissions and the provision of urban green infrastructure for ecosystem services and climate adaptation. In this study, we investigated the spatial distribution of green infrastructure at the neighbourhood scale in Sydney, Australia and examined how a mix of landscape types (pavement, bare soil/dry grass, green grass, and tree cover) affect temperature variation in three important locations for urban residents—around the home, in the roads and footpaths where people walk, and in parkland areas. Considering that residential and parkland areas contribute to the majority of green space in Sydney, it is important to understand how changes in landscape mix within these three neighbourhood areas will affect local temperature for urban residents. For residential houses, it was found that the percentage of tree canopy cover around the house had a significant negative relationship (p = 0.002) with surface temperatures of rooftops where greater tree cover led to lower rooftop temperatures. In streetscapes, both the percentage of tree cover (p < 0.0001) and the percentage of green grass (p < 0.0001) within the road segment had a significant negative relationship with the surface temperature of the road pavement. In the parks, the percentage of pavement (p < 0.0001) and the percentage of bare soil/dry grass (p < 0.0001) showed a significantly positive trend with land surface temperatures where greater land cover in the form of pavement and bare soil/dry grass led to higher temperatures. Collectively, these findings highlight the importance of promoting or reducing certain landscape covers depending on the land use type in order to maximise the cooling potential of green infrastructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Analyzing Three-Decadal Patterns of Land Use/Land Cover Change and Regional Ecosystem Services at the Landscape Level: Case Study of Two Coastal Metropolitan Regions, Eastern China
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 773; doi:10.3390/su8080773
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 27 July 2016 / Accepted: 3 August 2016 / Published: 10 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (11658 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rapid urbanization, land scarcity, and accompanying ecological deterioration in China have received growing attention. In this paper, two fast-growing metropolitan regions, Greater Shanghai and Greater Hangzhou, were selected as case studies to quantify the impact of land use/land cover (LULC) change on regional
[...] Read more.
Rapid urbanization, land scarcity, and accompanying ecological deterioration in China have received growing attention. In this paper, two fast-growing metropolitan regions, Greater Shanghai and Greater Hangzhou, were selected as case studies to quantify the impact of land use/land cover (LULC) change on regional ecosystem services value (ESV) at the landscape scale since the late 1970s. The results show that in both regions, dramatic LULC change, especially recent land development at the urban fringes, led to a steady decline in the available area of productive agricultural land, natural land and semi-natural land. This consequently caused remarkable landscape fragmentation along the urban-rural gradient as measured by five class-level landscape metrics. It was estimated that in Greater Shanghai, regulating, supporting, provisioning, and cultural ESVs decreased by 32.05%, 17.89%, 53.72%, and 17.06%, respectively. In Greater Hangzhou, these values decreased by 27.82%, 23.86%, 28.62%, and 22.85%, respectively. In addition, the relationship is quantified between zonal buffer-based ESV and class-level landscape metrics. Further analysis shows that spatiotemporal patterns of zonal ESVs along the urban-rural gradient in these two regions exhibited unbalanced patterns of ecological services delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Studies of the Relationship between City Size and Urban Benefits in China Based on a Panel Data Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 554; doi:10.3390/su8060554
Received: 21 February 2016 / Revised: 5 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 June 2016 / Published: 15 June 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2921 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Policy regarding the size of cities is an important component of China’s urban policy prescription. We used a curvilinear regression model in this study to identify the optimal function and conducted curve panel data regression analysis on the panel data of the benefits
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Policy regarding the size of cities is an important component of China’s urban policy prescription. We used a curvilinear regression model in this study to identify the optimal function and conducted curve panel data regression analysis on the panel data of the benefits of the economy, ecosystem services, and city size in China. In doing so, we obtained the regression relationship between city size and the benefits of the economy, environment, and resources of a city. Our main findings are as follows: (1) city size is not the most important factor determining a city’s benefits. However, there is a significant difference in the average city benefit between cities of various sizes; (2) city per capita GDP increase exhibited an inverted-N-shaped relationship with increasing city size, initially decreasing but subsequently increasing. The city size corresponding to the maximum value was usually higher than or close to the actual city size. Thus, it can be concluded that when a city’s population is more than 1 million, its per capita output increases; (3) a city’s resource services benefits all exhibited the trend of improving with increasing city size. This trend was particularly pronounced among cities with a population of less than 1 million; and (4) a city’s environmental services benefits exhibited an inverted-U-shaped relationship with city size, initially increasing but subsequently decreasing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)

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