Provisioning and accessibility of ecosystem services along the Chicago metro-region

Authors: Mayra Ivelisse Rodriguez Gonzalez*, Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, Brady S. Hardiman, Forestry and Natural Resources & Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Purdue University
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Environmental Science, Urban Geography
Keywords: ecosystem services, socio-ecological, urban
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Congressional A, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Ecosystem services are the benefits humans obtain from nature, linking social and ecological systems together. Incorporating ecosystem services into planning can enable better and more sustainable land management decisions in urban areas. However, traditional ecosystem service assessments generally only account for the distribution of service providing areas and do not consider other important socio-ecological interactions. The process behind the provisioning and consumption of services is much more complex than that and, thus, ecosystem service assessments should account for the large range of factors that contribute towards this process. Specifically, we consider that accessibility, which is the potential to reach and benefit from service providing areas, must be an active component of management strategies, particularly in urban socio-ecological systems. In this study, we integrate geospatial data layers, ecosystem services models and social data to explore the nature and ecology of the spatial arrangement of multi-service providing areas across the Chicago metro-region and their link to local social systems in order to characterize accessibility. Although desirable, ecosystem service accessibility may not always correlate positively with high levels of ecosystem service provisioning. Thus, making nature's goods and services more easily available and accessible to different communities in a city may require the consideration of additional factors in planning besides just increasing local vegetation levels. Our understanding of this phenomena may provide further insight on the socio-ecological dynamics underlying human interactions with urban ecosystems.

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