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Open AccessArticle

A Combined Field and Remote-Sensing Based Methodology to Assess the Ecosystem Service Potential of Urban Rivers in Developing Countries

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Technische Universität Darmstadt, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Franziska-Braun-Str. 3, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
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Technische Universität Darmstadt, Institute of Applied Geosciences, Section of Ecological Engineering, Research Group SEE-URBAN-WATER, Schnittspahnstr. 9, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(14), 1697; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11141697
Received: 3 July 2019 / Accepted: 12 July 2019 / Published: 17 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Ecosystem Services Flows and Dynamics Using Remote Sensing)
Natural rivers in urban areas bear significant potential to provide ecosystem services for the surrounding inhabitants. However, surface sealing by houses and street networks, urban drainage, disposal of waste and wastewater resulting from advancing urbanization usually lead to the deterioration of urban rivers and their riparian areas. This ultimately damages their ability to provide ecosystem services. This paper presents an innovative methodology for a rapid and low-cost assessment of the ecological status of urban rivers and riparian areas in developing countries under data scarce conditions. The methodology uses a combination of field data and freely available high-resolution satellite images to assess three ecological status categories: river hydromorphology, water quality, and riparian land cover. The focus here is on the assessment of proxies for biophysical structures and processes representing ecological functioning that enable urban rivers and riparian areas to provide ecosystem services. These proxies represent a combination of remote sensing land cover- and field-based indicators. Finally, the three ecological status categories are combined to quantify the potential of different river sections to provide regulating ecosystem services. The development and application of the methodology is demonstrated and visualized for each 100 m section of the Pochote River in the City of León, Nicaragua. This spatially distributed information of the ecosystem service potential of individual sections of the urban river and riparian areas can serve as important information for decision making regarding the protection, future use, and city development of these areas, as well as the targeted and tailor-made development of nature-based solutions such as green infrastructure. View Full-Text
Keywords: Urban rivers; ecological status; ecosystem services; developing countries; Nicaragua; nature-based solutions; green infrastructure; MAPURES; matrix approach Urban rivers; ecological status; ecosystem services; developing countries; Nicaragua; nature-based solutions; green infrastructure; MAPURES; matrix approach
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MDPI and ACS Style

Beißler, M.R.; Hack, J. A Combined Field and Remote-Sensing Based Methodology to Assess the Ecosystem Service Potential of Urban Rivers in Developing Countries. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1697.

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