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Incorporating Green-area User Groups in Urban Ecosystem Management

Johan Colding, Jakob Lundberg and Carl Folke, 2006 Ambio Vol 35, No. 5, pp. 237-244, August (2006).


We analyze the role of urban green areas managed by local user groups in their potential for supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services in growing city-regions, with focus on allotment areas, domestic gardens, and golf courses. Using Stockholm, Sweden, as an example cityregion, we compile GIS data of its spatial characteristics and relate these data to GIS data for protected areas and ‘‘green wedges’’ prioritized in biodiversity conservation. Results reveal that the three land uses cover 18% of the studied land area of metropolitan Stockholm, which corresponds to more than twice the land set aside as protected areas. We review the literature to identify ecosystem functions and services provided by the three green areas and discuss their potential in urban ecosystem management. We conclude that the incorporation of locally managed lands, and their stewards and institutions, into comanagement designs holds potential for improving conditions for urban biodiversity, reducing transaction costs in ecosystem management, and realizing local Agenda 21.

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