This article was originally published on Stockholm Resilience Centre.


Highlights:

  • There is a need to better understand where and when nature delivers benefits in cities, according to a new study
  • The study focuses on ten key urban ecosystem services, including air quality, water supply, recreational opportunities, and mental health
  • The authors emphasize the importance of considering social context, cultural preferences, and community voices in the prioritization and planning of urban nature

“A tree is not just a tree. Adding them to concrete jungles certainly have their benefits but a belief it is a quick fix on issues like air pollution requires a rethink.

In a new Nature Sustainability review article, centre partners from the Natural Capital Project, an international project developing tools to account for nature’s contributions to society, explore the many social, ecological, and technological contexts that help determine the benefits of urban nature in cities worldwide.

“When our team started reviewing past work on urban ecosystem services, we saw a real need to better understand where and when nature delivers benefits in cities. Nature-based solutions – urban trees, rain gardens, et cetera – are being deployed at an accelerating pace without recognition of the key contextual factors that affect the success of these efforts,” says lead author Bonnie Keeler, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

The review focuses on ten key urban ecosystem services, including air quality, water supply, recreational opportunities, and mental health. The main finding is that context is key: the same approach can have varying effects in different areas and with different groups of people…”

Read on at: Stockholm Resilience Centre.