Private gardens make up large parts of urban green space. In contrast to public green spaces, planning and management is usually uncoordinated and independent of municipal planning and management strategies. Therefore, the potential for private gardens to provide ecosystem services and habitat and to function as corridors for wildlife is not fully utilized. In order to improve public knowledge on gardens, as well as provide individual gardeners with information on what they can contribute to enhance ecosystem services provision, we developed a GIS-based web application for the city of Braunschweig (Germany): the ‘GartenApp’ (garden app). Users of the app have to outline their garden on a web map and provide information on biodiversity related features and management practices. Finally, they are asked about observations of well recognizable species in their gardens. As an output, the gardeners are provided with an estimate of the ecosystem services their garden provides, with an evaluation of the biodiversity friendliness, customized advice on improving ecosystem services provision, and results from connectivity models that show gardeners the role of their garden in the green network of the city. In this paper, we describe the app architecture and show the first results from its application. We finish with a discussion on the potential of GIS-based web applications for urban sustainability, planning and conservation.
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