Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 95–113

Ecosystem services in managing residential landscapes: priorities, value dimensions, and cross-regional patterns

  • K. L. Larson
  • K. C. Nelson
  • S. R. Samples
  • S. J. Hall
  • N. Bettez
  • J. Cavender-Bares
  • P. M. Groffman
  • M. Grove
  • J. B. Heffernan
  • S. E. Hobbie
  • J. Learned
  • J. L. Morse
  • C. Neill
  • L. A. Ogden
  • J. O’Neil-Dunne
  • D. E. Pataki
  • C. Polsky
  • R. Roy Chowdhury
  • M. Steele
  • T. L. E. Trammell
Article

Abstract

Although ecosystem services have been intensively examined in certain domains (e.g., forests and wetlands), little research has assessed ecosystem services for the most dominant landscape type in urban ecosystems—namely, residential yards. In this paper, we report findings of a cross-site survey of homeowners in six U.S. cities to 1) examine how residents subjectively value various ecosystem services, 2) explore distinctive dimensions of those values, and 3) test the urban homogenization hypothesis. This hypothesis posits that urbanization leads to similarities in the social-ecological dynamics across cities in diverse biomes. By extension, the thesis suggests that residents’ ecosystem service priorities for residential landscapes will be similar regardless of whether residents live in the humid East or the arid West, or the warm South or the cold North. Results underscored that cultural services were of utmost importance, particularly anthropocentric values including aesthetics, low-maintenance, and personal enjoyment. Using factor analyses, distinctive dimensions of residents’ values were found to partially align with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment’s categories (provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural). Finally, residents’ ecosystem service priorities exhibited significant homogenization across regions. In particular, the traditional lawn aesthetic (neat, green, weed-free yards) was similarly important across residents of diverse U.S. cities. Only a few exceptions were found across different environmental and social contexts; for example, cooling effects were more important in the warm South, where residents also valued aesthetics more than those in the North, where low-maintenance yards were a greater priority.

Keywords

Lawns Residential landscapes Land management Human values Ecosystem services Urban sustainability 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. L. Larson
    • 1
  • K. C. Nelson
    • 2
  • S. R. Samples
    • 3
  • S. J. Hall
    • 4
  • N. Bettez
    • 5
  • J. Cavender-Bares
    • 6
    • 7
  • P. M. Groffman
    • 5
  • M. Grove
    • 6
    • 7
  • J. B. Heffernan
    • 8
  • S. E. Hobbie
    • 6
    • 7
  • J. Learned
    • 4
  • J. L. Morse
    • 9
  • C. Neill
    • 10
  • L. A. Ogden
    • 11
  • J. O’Neil-Dunne
    • 12
  • D. E. Pataki
    • 13
  • C. Polsky
    • 14
  • R. Roy Chowdhury
    • 15
  • M. Steele
    • 16
  • T. L. E. Trammell
    • 13
  1. 1.School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, School of SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Forest Resources and Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  3. 3.Herberger Institute for Design and the ArtsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  4. 4.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  5. 5.Cary Institute of Ecosystem StudiesMillbrookUSA
  6. 6.Department of Ecology, Evolution and BehaviorUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  7. 7.Forest ServiceNorthern Research StationBaltimoreUSA
  8. 8.Nicholas School of the EnvironmentDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  9. 9.Department of Environmental Science and ManagementPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  10. 10.The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological LaboratoryWoods HoleUSA
  11. 11.Department of AnthropologyDartmouth UniversityHanoverUSA
  12. 12.Spatial Analysis Laboratory, Rubenstein School of Environment, & Natural Resources205 George D. Aiken CenterBurlingtonUSA
  13. 13.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  14. 14.Florida Center for Environmental StudiesFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  15. 15.Department of GeographyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  16. 16.Department of Crop and Soil Environmental ScienceVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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