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Quantifying urban ecosystem services based on high-resolution data of urban green space: an assessment for Rotterdam, the Netherlands

By M.L. Derkzen, A.J.A. van Teeffelen and P.H. Verburg

Abstract

Summary: The urban dimension of ecosystem services (ES) is underexposed, while the importance of ES for human well-being is nowhere as evident as in cities. Urban challenges such as air pollution, noise and heat can be moderated by urban green space (UGS), simultaneously providing multiple other services. However, available methods to quantify ES cannot typically deal with the high spatial and thematic resolution land cover data that are needed to better understand ES supply in the urban context. This study derives methods to quantify and map a bundle of six ES as supplied by UGS, using land cover data with high spatial and thematic resolution, and applies these to the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Land cover data comprise eight classes of UGS. Methods are derived from an evidence base on the importance of UGS types for the supply of each of the six ES that was built using literature review. The evidence base reveals that UGS types differ in their contribution to various ES, although the strength of the evidence varies. However, existing indicators for urban ES often do not discriminate between UGS types. To derive UGS-specific indicators, we combined methods and evidence from different research contexts (ES, non-ES, urban, non-urban). Rotterdam shows high spatial variation in the amount of UGS present, and accounting for this in ES supply reveals that ES bundles depend on UGS composition and configuration. While the contribution of UGS types to ES supply differed markedly with UGS type and ES considered, we demonstrate that synergies rather than trade-offs exist among the ES analysed. Synthesis and applications. Our findings underline the importance of a careful design of urban green space (UGS) in city planning for ecosystem services (ES) provision. Based on the latest insights on how different UGS provide ES, the methods presented in this study enable a more detailed quantification and mapping of the supply of ES in cities, allowing assessments of current supply of key urban ES and alternative urban designs. Such knowledge is indispensable in the quest for designing healthier and climate-resilient cities. Our findings underline the importance of a careful design of urban green space (UGS) in city planning for ecosystem services (ES) provision. Based on the latest insights on how different UGS provide ES, the methods presented in this study enable a more detailed quantification and mapping of the supply of ES in cities, allowing assessments of current supply of key urban ES and alternative urban designs. Such knowledge is indispensable in the quest for designing healthier and climate-resilient cities

Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1111/1365-2664.12469
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Provided by: NARCIS
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