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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Urban ecosystem services assessment along a rural-urban gradient: A cross-analysis of European cities

Larondelle, Neele; Haase, Dagmar


The main objective of this paper is to present an assessment approach for ecosystem services in an urban context covering the local and the regional scale. It was applied to different European cities. A set of indicators representing important urban ecosystem goods and services - local climate regulation, air cooling and recreation - was tested using spatial data along an urban-rural gradient. The results show that there is neither a typical rural-urban gradient in terms of urban ecosystem service provisioning nor a uniform urban spatial pattern of service provisioning that can serve as a generic model for cities. The results demonstrate that (1) core cities do not necessarily provide fewer ecosystem services compared to their regions and (2) there were no patches found within the four case study cities where all of the indicators report very high performance values. The analysis further shows that a high degree of imperviousness does not necessarily entail low ecosystem service provisioning if an urban structure contains a considerable amount of mature trees which support carbon storage and biodiversity. The results of the present paper provide insights into potentials and trade-offs between different urban ecosystem services that should be considered during urban planning when setting targets and establishing thresholds to protect environmental resources, ecosystem services and biodiversity for residents. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Urban ecosystem services; Spatial patterns; Indicators; Trade-offs; Cities; Europe

Published in

Ecological Indicators
2013, Volume: 29, pages: 179-190

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

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