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The impact of projected increases in urbanization on ecosystem services

Eigenbrod, F.; Bell, V.A.; Davies, H.N.; Heinemeyer, A.; Armsworth, P.R.; Gaston, K.J.. 2011 The impact of projected increases in urbanization on ecosystem services. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278 (1722). 3201-3208. 10.1098/rspb.2010.2754

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Abstract/Summary

Alteration in land use is likely to be a major driver of changes in the distribution of ecosystem services before 2050. In Europe, urbanization will probably be the main cause of land-use change. This increase in urbanization will result in spatial shifts in both supplies of ecosystem services and the beneficiaries of those services; the net outcome of such shifts remains to be determined. Here, we model changes in urban land cover in Britain based on large (16%) projected increases in the human population by 2031, and the consequences for three different services—flood mitigation, agricultural production and carbon storage. We show that under a scenario of densification of urban areas, the combined effect of increasing population and loss of permeable surfaces is likely to result in 1.7 million people living within 1 km of rivers with at least 10 per cent increases in projected peak flows, but that increasing suburban ‘sprawl’ will have little effect on flood mitigation services. Conversely, losses of stored carbon and agricultural production are over three times as high under the sprawl as under the ‘densification’ urban growth scenarios. Our results illustrate the challenges of meeting, but also of predicting, future demands and patterns of ecosystem services in the face of increasing urbanization.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1098/rspb.2010.2754
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 1 - Variability and Change in Water Systems > WA - 1.3 - Model, attribute and predict impacts of climate and land cover change on hydrological and freshwater systems
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity > BD Topic 3 - Managing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing Environment > BD - 3.3 - Develop integrated environmental assessments and modelling ...
CEH Sections: Reynard
ISSN: 0962-8452
Additional Keywords: agricultural production, carbon storage, densification, flood risk, natural capital, urban ecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Hydrology
Date made live: 08 Nov 2011 14:18
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/10239

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