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Reconnecting Cities to the Biosphere: Stewardship of Green Infrastructure and Urban Ecosystem Services

Andersson, E., S. Barthel, S. Borgström, J. Colding, T. Elmqvist, C. Folke, and Å. Gren. (2014) Ambio 43(4):445-453.

Abstract:

Within-city green infrastructure can offer opportunities and new contexts for people to become stewards of ecosystem services. We analyze cities as social–ecological systems, synthesize the literature, and provide examples from more than 15 years of research in the Stockholm urban region, Sweden. The social–ecological approach spans from investigating ecosystem properties to the social frameworks and personal values that drive and shape human interactions with nature. Key findings demonstrate that urban ecosystem services are generated by social–ecological systems and that local stewards are critically important. However, land-use planning and management seldom account for their role in the generation of urban ecosystem services. While the small scale patchwork of land uses in cities stimulates intense interactions across borders much focus is still on individual patches. The results highlight the importance and complexity of stewardship of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services and of the planning and governance of urban green infrastructure.

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Keywords: Biodiversity, Ecosystem services, Property rights, Stewardship, Urban ecology, Urban social–ecological systems

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