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A framework for assessing urban greenery's effects and valuing its ecosystem services
- Andersson-Sköld, Yvonne, Klingberg, Jenny, Gunnarsson, Bengt, Cullinane, Kevin, Gustafsson, Ingela, Hedblom, Marcus, Knez, Igor, Lindberg, Fredrik, Ode Sang, Åsa, Pleijel, Håkan, Thorsson, Pontus, Thorsson, Sofia
- Journal of environmental management 2018 v.205 pp. 274-285
- bees, birds, ecosystem services, ecosystems, green infrastructure, herbs, interviews, inventories, leaves, models, planning, shrubs, trees, vegetation, Sweden
- Ongoing urban exploitation is increasing pressure to transform urban green spaces, while there is increasing awareness that greenery provides a range of important benefits to city residents. In efforts to help resolve associated problems we have developed a framework for integrated assessments of ecosystem service (ES) benefits and values provided by urban greenery, based on the ecosystem service cascade model. The aim is to provide a method for assessing the contribution to, and valuing, multiple ES provided by urban greenery that can be readily applied in routine planning processes. The framework is unique as it recognizes that an urban greenery comprises several components and functions that can contribute to multiple ecosystem services in one or more ways via different functional traits (e.g. foliage characteristics) for which readily measured indicators have been identified. The framework consists of five steps including compilation of an inventory of indicator; application of effectivity factors to rate indicators' effectiveness; estimation of effects; estimation of benefits for each ES; estimation of the total ES value of the ecosystem. The framework was applied to assess ecosystem services provided by trees, shrubs, herbs, birds, and bees, in green areas spanning an urban gradient in Gothenburg, Sweden. Estimates of perceived values of ecosystem services were obtained from interviews with the public and workshop activities with civil servants. The framework is systematic and transparent at all stages and appears to have potential utility in the existing spatial planning processes.