Urbanization is characterized by population agglomeration and the expansion of impervious land surfaces. As a result of ongoing urbanization, rain and flood events have increasingly affected the well-being of residents in cities across the world. This should draw attention to the role of urban ecosystems in providing runoff retention/flood mitigation services. Focusing on Shenzhen, a major city in southern China, we used a hydrologic model based on the Soil Conservation Service curve number (SCS-CN) model to evaluate this flood reduction ecosystem service and its dynamic trends based on long-term remote sensing data from 1980 to 2018. We find that Shenzhen’s capacity for flood reduction gradually decreased due to changes in land use. The spatial distribution showed strong reduction capacity in the eastern part of the city and weak capacity in the western part. Additionally, the city’s total flood reduction capacity decreased by over 1.88 × 108
over the past two decades. This loss of ecosystem-based flood reduction capacity undermines Shenzhen’s resilience against extreme weather events. Due to climate change, Shenzhen should advance its plan to build a “Sponge City” rooted in the conservation, restoration, and construction of urban ecological spaces.
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