Ecosystem Services Design from Single Space Solution to Landscape Vision

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Land Planning and Landscape Architecture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2024 | Viewed by 15279

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems (IRET-URT Lecce), National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Campus Ecotekne, 73100 Lecce, Italy
Interests: biodiversity; ecology; ecosystem services (ES); landscape and urban planning; strategic environmental assessment (SEA, Directive 2001/42/CE); geographic information systems (GIS)
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Green spaces can be designed to serve as ecological multifunctional spaces capable of supporting priority ecosystem services and co-benefits to reduce the ecological footprint of human activities and increase the carrying capacity of landscape and urban systems. Ecosystem service design must include physical structures, such as implementing ecosystems in landscape and urban space to provide ecological processes that can mitigate environmental issues, but also consider specific social activities and economic benefits that can be derived from their utilizations to maximize human wellbeing.

Therefore, a broad range of solutions can be implemented in both private and public spaces involving different stakeholders. This requires a cultural leap and new vision for green space design to support priority ecosystem services that are capable of creating connections between high ecological resilience, new business and economic opportunities, and multiscale environmental and cultural aspects.

This can include the planning and design of solutions that can support climate and air regulation, storm mitigations, energy use reduction, biodiversity and habitat restorations, esthetics, and cultural aspects in terms of stress mitigation and social integration with reference also to the immigration process. Therefore, the solution can involve a single project but also a network of natural-based solutions that can represent green infrastructure in the landscape.

Research experimentation to identify new solutions in landscape and urban planning is hampered by the impossibility of repeating experiments or attempts as is usually done in laboratory experiments. Therefore, each project and process to develop ecosystem services or green infrastructure in landscape and urban space can represent a good example to reflect on the success or failure of human choices. These can serve as useful knowledge and information for new application development in sustainability at different scales.

This Special Issue aims to bring together a network of knowledge and, where possible, to report practical experiences in green space design and management with a critical vision to support new research and applications and stimulate innovation through the “learn by doing” approach.

Therefore, the Special Issue will promote research, review, and other types of manuscripts that focus on promoting ecosystem regeneration, ecosystem services, and green infrastructure and their management, as well as new policies and tools for their promotions and diffusion with a bottom-up (from a single applicative case to analyze methodologies and effectiveness) or top-down approach (from research to transfer in an applicative way).

Papers may include:

  • Research studies on the development of specific natural-based solutions able to improve human health in landscape and urban planning and design;
  • Assessment of ecosystem services and disservices provided by natural-based solutions and green infrastructure application;
  • Reviews of green infrastructure project applications realized in the real world;
  • Research promoting new indicators, approaches, and methodologies to monitor vegetation status, social and economic impacts, and human wellbeing linked to ecosystem service improvement;
  • Reports explaining the approaches used in urban and rural landscape ecological restoration design;
  • Research on the ability of green infrastructure or specific natural-based solutions to increase the carrying capacity of an urban system or reduce the ecological footprint of the city carrying out ecological processes instead of high-impact technology;
  • Market approaches and social–ecological strategies in the ecosystem service design capable of stimulating private investment in green spaces at different scales creating share value;
  • Transdisciplinary approaches to ecosystem service design involving researchers, private landowners, companies, experts, and developers reflecting together on the problem and solutions;
  • Research and reports on how to ensure stakeholder collaboration and community engagement in ecosystem service design;
  • Research and reviews of social promotion activities in ecosystem service design.

Dr. Teodoro Semeraro
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 6516 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Landscape and Ecological Aspects of Urban Planning in Byblos: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Assessing Urban Forests
by Mira Hobeika, Victoria Dawalibi, Georgio Kallas and Alessio Russo
Land 2024, 13(4), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13040464 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Byblos, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands as one of Lebanon’s most ancient urban centers, known for its expansive green spaces. However, ongoing urbanization threatens these valuable areas. This study uses a multi-faceted approach to evaluate the structure and landscape attributes [...] Read more.
Byblos, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, stands as one of Lebanon’s most ancient urban centers, known for its expansive green spaces. However, ongoing urbanization threatens these valuable areas. This study uses a multi-faceted approach to evaluate the structure and landscape attributes of Byblos’ urban and peri-urban forests (UPFs). Landscape canopy cover, diversity indices, forest structure, and a silhouette perceptual test were assessed across 24 streets in the city center, residential zones, and areas with heavy vehicular traffic. Findings reveal that 28% of Byblos’ canopy cover is concentrated mostly in the northeastern region. Native tree species account for 30% of the total, and a notable variation in tree diversity exists among different land-use types (Shannon diversity index (H) was 1.02 for the city center, 1.35 for residential streets, and 0.64 for vehicular areas). Additionally, a normal J-shaped distribution of tree diameters was identified across all street types. This study highlights a correlation between tree silhouettes and visual preferences, with densely spreading canopies being favored. Residential trees demonstrate the highest structural diversity and varied blossoming seasons. This research represents the first investigation into the current state of urban forestry in Byblos and offers recommendations for sustainable management and planning strategies. Full article
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27 pages, 5153 KiB  
Article
Coupling Coordination Relationship and Driving Force Analysis between Gross Ecosystem Product and Regional Economic System in the Qinling Mountains, China
by Pengtao Wang, Yuxuan Chen, Kang Liu, Xupu Li, Liwei Zhang, Le Chen, Tianjie Shao, Peilin Li, Guoqing Yang, Hui Wang, Shang Gao and Junping Yan
Land 2024, 13(2), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13020234 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 702
Abstract
As a new concept for systematically evaluating ecosystem services, Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) provides an effective means to comprehensively reveal the overall status of the ecosystem, the impact of economic activities on the ecological environment, and the effectiveness of ecological protection efforts. GEP [...] Read more.
As a new concept for systematically evaluating ecosystem services, Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) provides an effective means to comprehensively reveal the overall status of the ecosystem, the impact of economic activities on the ecological environment, and the effectiveness of ecological protection efforts. GEP accounting has been conducted in various regions; however, GEP’s application in natural reserves still requires further exploration. Taking the Qinling Mountains as the research area, this paper aims to assess the relationship between GEP and economic development on the basis of the GEP accounting system. The results indicated that: (1) From 2010 to 2020, GEP tended to increase continuously and exhibited a distribution pattern with high value regions in the east and west, and low value regions in the north and south. (2) Over the years, the coupling coordination degree between GEP and GDP was in a consistent upward trend. In 2020, a good coupling coordination state between GEP and GDP was achieved in most districts and counties. (3) With the relative development between GEP and GDP, the social economy of most districts and counties lagged behind GEP in 2010. The number of districts and counties lagging in GEP in 2020 increased, while the number of regions with a balanced development of GEP and GDP was still relatively discouraging. (4) In general, elevation, contagion, temperature, population density, and precipitation were the main drivers of coupling coordination degree between GEP and GDP. If the relationship between economic development and ecological environmental protection can be reasonably balanced, it will further promote the sustainable development of nature reserves, and provide a scientific basis for sustainable policy-making in other similar areas. Full article
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23 pages, 24251 KiB  
Article
An Interpretation of Landscape Preferences Based on Geographic and Social Media Data to Understand Different Cultural Ecosystem Services
by Yuanting Yang and Wei Duan
Land 2024, 13(2), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13020125 - 23 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 944
Abstract
A crucial component of ecosystem services (ES) that represents social and humanities values is the cultural ecosystem service (CES), which refers to the non-material advantages that the environment provides for humans. CES are challenging to deeply understand, and little is known about the [...] Read more.
A crucial component of ecosystem services (ES) that represents social and humanities values is the cultural ecosystem service (CES), which refers to the non-material advantages that the environment provides for humans. CES are challenging to deeply understand, and little is known about the interactions between CES and landscape variables, particularly in some remote Chinese cities. In order to assess the dominant landscape variables of different CESs from physical, experiential, intellectual and inspirational aspects, this article investigates the landscape variables that may influence the public preferences of various CESs based on social media and geographic data in Anshun, China. The findings are displayed below. The public preferences of various CESs are impacted by the landscape variables in different ways. Physical CESs are influenced by both natural and infrastructure elements, demonstrating that accessibility to restaurants, accommodation, and transit affects how people interact with plays in public. Experiential CESs are primarily influenced by sensory elements, particularly the visual senses, suggesting that when people visit such settings, they place more emphasis on sensory experiences. Intellectual CESs are mostly affected by sensory and natural elements, implying that intellectual CESs with a natural perception are more alluring to tourists. Inspirational CESs are mainly influenced by natural and infrastructure elements, people usually consider nature and convenience when they go to such scenic spots. From the standpoint of promoting people’s wellbeing and boosting tourism appeal, the study’s results can offer fresh perspectives and content additions for the tourism landscape planning and management in Anshun. Full article
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16 pages, 12065 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Distribution and Driving Force Analysis of the Ecosystem Service Value in the Fujiang River Basin, China
by Xuemao Zhang, Binggeng Xie, Junhan Li and Chuan Yuan
Land 2023, 12(2), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020449 - 9 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1346
Abstract
Identification of spatiotemporal changes in ecosystem service value and their drivers is the basis for ecosystem services management and decision making. This research selects Fujiang River Basin (FJRB) as the area of study, using the equivalent factor method to estimate the ecosystem service [...] Read more.
Identification of spatiotemporal changes in ecosystem service value and their drivers is the basis for ecosystem services management and decision making. This research selects Fujiang River Basin (FJRB) as the area of study, using the equivalent factor method to estimate the ecosystem service value (ESV) variation and characteristics of its spatial distribution. The contributions of the drivers of ecosystem service value and their interactions were also explored using the optimal parameters-based geographical detectors (OPGD) model. The results showed the following: (1) the total ESV increased from 104,891.22 × 106 yuan to 105,032.08 × 106 yuan from 2000 to 2020, and displayed an upward trend from the southeast to northwest; (2) The distribution of ESV showed a strong positive spatial autocorrelation. High ESVs were concentrated upstream of the study region with a higher elevation and vegetation coverage, whereas low values were mainly found in the midstream and downstream regions, where frequent human activity occurs; (3) The elevation of natural factors, HAI and LA of human-social factors, and PEL of landscape pattern factors were the main forces leading to ESV differentiation, and the spatial heterogeneity of ESV in the study area resulted from the synergistic effect of natural factors, human socioeconomic activities, and landscape pattern factors. This research reveals the spatial and temporal patterns and drivers of ecosystem service values in the FJRB, and provides a scientific reference for the establishment of land-use planning and ecological environmental protection mechanisms in this region. Full article
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19 pages, 6475 KiB  
Article
Measuring Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) in Guangxi, China, from 2005 to 2020
by Luying Wang, Kai Su, Xuebing Jiang, Xiangbei Zhou, Zhu Yu, Zhongchao Chen, Changwen Wei, Yiming Zhang and Zhihong Liao
Land 2022, 11(8), 1213; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11081213 - 1 Aug 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2466
Abstract
The economic and social development evaluation system with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the leading indicator is no longer applicable to the current social progress in China. It is essential to carry out an assessment of the Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) to [...] Read more.
The economic and social development evaluation system with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the leading indicator is no longer applicable to the current social progress in China. It is essential to carry out an assessment of the Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) to integrate ecological benefits into the economic and social evaluation system and promote sustainable socio-economic development. This study took Guangxi, an important province in South China, as the study area. We used four periods of land use and land cover data (LULC), meteorological data, soil data and yearbook statistics to construct a GEP assessment framework based on geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) technologies. We accounted for the provisioning services, regulating services, and tourism services provided by Guangxi in 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2020 and analyzed the region’s and municipalities’ spatial–temporal pattern characteristics and trends of change in GEP. In addition, this study also discusses the relationship between GEP and GDP. The results showed that many important products and services provided by natural ecosystems in Guangxi had enormous economic benefits. GEP had increased from CNY 15,657.37 billion in 2005 to CNY 36,677.04 billion in 2020, and the distribution of GEP showed obvious spatial heterogeneity. The value of ecosystem regulation services was about 65–89% of GEP, which is the main component of GEP. From 2005 to 2020, natural ecosystem protection and socio-economic development have achieved coordinated development in Guangxi. GEP and GDP showed upward trends in general. Although Guangxi is relatively backward in terms of economic development, the scientific quantification of the unrealized value of the services provided by the ecosystem through GEP accounting makes it possible to transform ecological advantages into economic advantages. It could help the local government and people to re-recognize the value of ecological resources and realize the beautiful vision of lucid waters and lush mountains as invaluable assets. Full article
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23 pages, 5531 KiB  
Article
Fostering Carbon Credits to Finance Wildfire Risk Reduction Forest Management in Mediterranean Landscapes
by Fermín Alcasena, Marcos Rodrigues, Pere Gelabert, Alan Ager, Michele Salis, Aitor Ameztegui, Teresa Cervera and Cristina Vega-García
Land 2021, 10(10), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10101104 - 19 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 5264
Abstract
Despite the need for preserving the carbon pools in fire-prone southern European landscapes, emission reductions from wildfire risk mitigation are still poorly understood. In this study, we estimated expected carbon emissions and carbon credits from fuel management projects ongoing in Catalonia (Spain). The [...] Read more.
Despite the need for preserving the carbon pools in fire-prone southern European landscapes, emission reductions from wildfire risk mitigation are still poorly understood. In this study, we estimated expected carbon emissions and carbon credits from fuel management projects ongoing in Catalonia (Spain). The planning areas encompass about 1000 km2 and represent diverse fire regimes and Mediterranean forest ecosystems. We first modeled the burn probability assuming extreme weather conditions and historical fire ignition patterns. Stand-level wildfire exposure was then coupled with fuel consumption estimates to assess expected carbon emissions. Finally, we estimated treatment cost-efficiency and carbon credits for each fuel management plan. Landscape-scale average emissions ranged between 0.003 and 0.070 T CO2 year−1 ha−1. Fuel treatments in high emission hotspots attained reductions beyond 0.06 T CO2 year−1 per treated ha. Thus, implementing carbon credits could potentially finance up to 14% of the treatment implementation costs in high emission areas. We discuss how stand conditions, fire regimes, and treatment costs determine the treatment cost-efficiency and long-term carbon-sink capacity. Our work may serve as a preliminary step for developing a carbon-credit market and subsidizing wildfire risk management programs in low-revenue Mediterranean forest systems prone to extreme wildfires. Full article
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23 pages, 6837 KiB  
Article
Habitat Restoration: An Applicative Approach to “Biodiversity Heritage Relicts” in Social-Ecological Systems
by Teodoro Semeraro, Alessio Turco, Stefano Arzeni, Giuseppe La Gioia, Roberta D’Armento, Riccardo Taurino and Pietro Medagli
Land 2021, 10(9), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090898 - 26 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2516
Abstract
Many landscapes are the result of interactions between ecological processes, economic activities, and the administrative and political organisation of society. Therefore, as a consequence of human transformations over time, some landscapes may contain residual damaged habitats hosting testimony of past biodiversity that can [...] Read more.
Many landscapes are the result of interactions between ecological processes, economic activities, and the administrative and political organisation of society. Therefore, as a consequence of human transformations over time, some landscapes may contain residual damaged habitats hosting testimony of past biodiversity that can be called “biodiversity heritage relicts”. From this perspective, the aim of the paper is to describe an applicative approach to habitat restoration in social-ecological landscapes. The approach entails the restoration of vegetation using GIS analysis integrated with field activities and a phytosociological method. The methodology includes expert and stakeholder involvement in order to increase the resilience of the measures over time, thereby consolidating landscape value. The approach was applied in the municipality of Campi Salentina, Province of Lecce, Italy, and the result was the restoration of an important riparian habitat classified under Directive 92/43/EEC as “Salix alba and Populus alba galleries” (code 92A0), which had not previously been recorded in the Province of Lecce. In this case, the project re-established a natural habitat that represented a “biodiversity heritage relict” in the landscape. The paper shows that direct knowledge of the landscape and the ability to identify “biodiversity heritage relicts”, in combination with a phytosociological approach, can enhance the effectiveness of ecological restoration projects. Moreover, social and institutional integration in projects helps ensure the management of the measures over time. Full article
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