Gómez-Baggethun: Assessing the Potential of Regulating Ecosystem Services as Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Areas

Abstract: Mounting research assesses the provision of regulating ecosystem services by green infrastructure in urban areas, but the extent to which these services can offer effective nature-based solutions for addressing urban climate change-related challenges is rarely considered. In this chapter, we synthesize knowledge from assessments of urban green infrastructure carried out in Europe and beyond to evaluate the potential contribution of regulating ecosystem services to offset carbon emissions, reduce heat stress and abate air pollution at the metropolitan, city and site scales. Results from this review indicate that the potential of regulating ecosystem services provided by urban green infrastructure to counteract these three climate change-related pressures is often limited and/or uncertain, especially at the city and metropolitan levels. However, their contribution can have a substantially higher impact at site scales such as in street canyons and around green spaces. We note that if regulating ecosystem services are to offer effective nature-based solutions in urban areas, it is critically important that green infrastructure policies target the relevant implementation scale. This calls for a coordination between authorities dealing with urban and environmental policy and for the harmonization of planning and management instruments in a multilevel governance approach.

Keywords: Regulating ecosystem services; Urban green infrastructure; Global climate regulation; Local climate regulation; Air quality regulation; Multi-scale assessment 

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About the book (from the publisher):

"This open access book brings together research findings and experiences from science, policy and practice to highlight and debate the importance of nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation in urban areas. Emphasis is given to the potential of nature-based approaches to create multiple-benefits for society. The expert contributions present recommendations for creating synergies between ongoing policy processes, scientific programmes and practical implementation of climate change and nature conservation measures in global urban areas".

Published 5. September 2017 - 14:19 - Updated 5. September 2017 - 14:52