Landscape Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 8, pp 1361–1375 | Cite as

Using expert knowledge in combining green infrastructure and ecosystem services in land use planning: an insight into a new place-based methodology

  • Leena Kopperoinen
  • Pekka Itkonen
  • Jari Niemelä
Research Article


Green infrastructure (GI) is a strategic planning instrument to achieve sustainable development. The main functions of GI are to protect biodiversity and safeguard and enhance the provision of ecosystem services (ES). In this paper we present the development of a semi-quantitative place-based method, aiming at assessing GI based on the provision potential of all main ES. Our method combines a wide spectrum of GIS data with expert assessments. Here we focus especially on how interaction with experts and local and regional actors impacted the method development. Our results showed that involving experts in dataset selection is very useful in compiling the most relevant data for the assessment of ES. Expert knowledge is also valuable in evaluating the actual coverage and quality of datasets. By involving both experts and local and regional actors in assessing ES provision potential we can add local knowledge to the general scientific understanding. Qualitative assessments can be complemented with quantitative data in our method. The resulting maps support land use planning, as they assist in identifying the multifunctional key areas of GI and in examining the provision potential of various ES. The group discussions involved in our method provided an additional benefit, as the experts and local and regional actors felt that this discussion platform enhanced their understanding of both GI and ES.


GIS Mapping Method development Expert knowledge Expert assessment Participatory assessment 



We would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Environment in Finland for funding our research, and all the experts and local and regional actors that have given their valuable time for the benefit of the GreenFrame method development. We also want to thank the anonymous reviewers for their very constructive comments on the manuscript.


  1. Ahern J, Cilliers S, Niemelä J (2014) The concept of ecosystem services in adaptive urban planning and design: encouraging transdisciplinarity. Landscape and Urban Planning.
  2. Brown G, Montag JM, Lyon K (2011) Public participation GIS: a method for identifying ecosystem services. Soc Nat Resour 0:1–19Google Scholar
  3. Burkhard B, Kroll F, Müller F, Windhorst W (2009) Landscapes capacities to provide ecosystem services: a concept for land-cover based assessments. Landsc Online 15:1–22Google Scholar
  4. Burkhard B, Kroll F, Nedkov S, Müller F (2012) Mapping ecosystem service supply, demand and budgets. Ecol Ind 21:17–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Calabrese JM, Fagan WF (2004) A comparison-shopper’s guide to connectivity metrics. Front Ecol Environ 2(10):529–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Egoh B, Reyers B, Rouget M, Richardson DM, Le Maitre DC, van Jaarsveld AS (2008) Mapping ecosystem services for planning and management. Agric Ecosyst Environ 127:135–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Egoh B, Drakou EG, Dunbar MB, Maes J, Willemen L (2012) Indicators for mapping ecosystem services: a review. JRC Scientific and Policy Reports. Publications Office of the European Union, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  8. Frank S, Fürst C, Koschke L, Makeschin F (2012) A contribution towards a transfer of the ecosystem service concept to landscape planning using landscape metrics. Ecol Ind 21:30–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Frank S, Fürst C, Koschke L, Witt A, Makeschin F (2013) Assessment of landscape aesthetics: validation of a landscape metrics-based assessment by visual estimation of the scenic beauty. Ecol Ind 32:222–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Girvetz EH, Thorne JH, Berry AM, Jaeger JAG (2008) Integration of landscape fragmentation analysis into regional planning: a statewide multi-scale case study from California, USA. Landsc Urban Plan 86(3–4):205–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Haines-Young R (2011) Exploring ecosystem service issues across diverse knowledge domains using Bayesian Belief Networks. Prog Phys Geogr 35(5):681–699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Haines-Young R, Potschin M (2013) Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES): Consultation on Version 4, August–December 2012. EEA Framework Contract No EEA/IEA/09/003Google Scholar
  13. Jaeger JAG, Bertiller R, Schwick C (2008) Implementing landscape fragmentation as an indicator in the Swiss Monitoring System of Sustainable Development (MONET). J Environ Manag 88(4):737–751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kuttner M, Hainz-Renetzeder C, Hermann A, Wrbka T (2012) Borders without barriers: structural functionality and green infrastructure in the Austrian–Hungarian transboundary region of Lake Neusiedl. Ecol Ind 31:59–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kyttä M, Kahila M (2011) SoftGIS methodology: building bridges in urban planning. GIM Int 25(3):37–41Google Scholar
  16. Kyttä M, Broberg A, Tzoulas T, Snabb K (2013) Towards contextually sensitive urban densification: location-based softGIS knowledge revealing perceived residential environmental quality. Landsc Urban Plan 113:30–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. LaFortezza R, Davies C, Sanesi G, Konijnendijk C (2012) Green infrastructure as a tool to support spatial planning in European urban regions. iForest 6:102–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lankia T, Kopperoinen L, Pouta E, Neuvonen M (2012) Mapping outdoor recreation benefits in Finland using national inventory data. In: Fredman P, Stenseke M, Liljendahl H, Mossing A, Laven D (eds) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas. Outdoor Recreation in Change: Current Knowledge and Future Challenges, Stockholm, Sweden, August 21–24, 2012Google Scholar
  19. Larondelle N, Haase D (2013) Urban ecosystem services assessment along a rural-urban gradient: a cross-analysis of European cities. Ecol Ind 29:179–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Maes J, Hauck J, Paracchini M et al. (2012) A spatial assessment of ecosystem services in Europe: methods, case studies and policy analysis-phase 2. Full report. Partnership for European Environmental Research, IspraGoogle Scholar
  21. Minor ES, Urban DL (2008) A graph-theory framework for evaluating landscape connectivity and conservation planning. Conserv Biol 22(2):297–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Naidoo R, Balmford A, Costanza R et al (2008) Global mapping of ecosystem services and conservation priorities. Proc Natl Acad Sci 105(28):9495–9500PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Naumann S, McKenna D, Kaphengst T (2011) Design, implementation and cost elements of Green Infrastructure projects. Final report to the European Commission, DG Environment, Contract no. 070307/2010/577182/ETU/F.1. Ecologic institute and GHK ConsultingGoogle Scholar
  24. Pauleit S, Breuste JH (2011) Land-use and surface-cover as urban ecological indicators. In: Niemelä J (ed) Urban ecology: patterns, processes, and applications. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 19–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Raymond CM, Bryan BA, Hatton MacDonald D et al (2009) Mapping community values for natural capital and ecosystem services. Ecol Econ 68:1301–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Söderman T, Kopperoinen L, Yli-Pelkonen V, Shemeikka P (2012) Ecosystem services criteria for sustainable development in urban regions. J Environ Assess Policy Manag 14(2):1250008-1–1250008-48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Vihervaara P, Kumpula T, Ruokolainen A, Tanskanen A, Burkhard B (2012) The use of detailed biotope data for linking biodiversity with ecosystem services in Finland. Int J Biodivers Sci Ecosyst Serv Manag 8(1–2):169–185Google Scholar
  28. Vogt P, Ferrari JR, Lookingbill TR, Gardner RH, Riitters KH, Ostapowicz K (2009) Mapping functional connectivity. Ecol Ind 9(1):64–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leena Kopperoinen
    • 1
  • Pekka Itkonen
    • 1
  • Jari Niemelä
    • 2
  1. 1.Environmental Policy CentreFinnish Environment Institute SYKEHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations