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Integration of ecosystem services into a conceptual spatial planning framework based on a landscape ecology perspective

Abstract

Context

The study of ecosystem services has extended its influence into spatial planning and landscape ecology, the integration of which can offer an opportunity to enhance the saliency, credibility, and legitimacy of landscape ecology in spatial planning issues.

Objectives

This paper presents a conceptual framework suitable for spatial planning in human dominated environments supported by landscape ecological thinking. It seeks to facilitate the integration of ecosystem services into current practice, including landscape metrics as suitable indicators.

Methods

A literature review supported the revision of existing open questions pertaining to ecosystem services as well as their integration into landscape ecology and spatial planning. A posterior reflection of the current state-of-the-art was then used as a basis for developing the spatial planning conceptual framework.

Results and conclusion

The framework is articulated around four phases (characterisation, assessment, design, and monitoring) and three concepts (character, service, and value). It advocates integration of public participation, consideration of “landscape services”, the inclusion of ecosystem disservices, and the use of landscape metrics for qualitative assessment of services. As a result, the framework looks to enhance spatial planning practice by providing: (i) a better consideration of landscape configuration in the supply of services (ii) the integration of anthropogenic services with ecosystem services; (iii) the consideration of costs derived from ecosystems (e.g. disservices); and (iv) an aid to the understanding of ecosystem services terminology for spatial planning professionals and decision makers.

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Acknowledgements

J.B.A. would like to acknowledge the support of the Liebig-Cranfield scholarship which permitted the conceptualisation and development of this research. In addition, J.B.A. and B.R. also acknowledge funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Grant 494 No: 730468 (www.nature4cities.eu), which supported the finalisation of this research. Finally, all the authors would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which helped to improve the quality of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Javier Babí Almenar.

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Babí Almenar, J., Rugani, B., Geneletti, D. et al. Integration of ecosystem services into a conceptual spatial planning framework based on a landscape ecology perspective. Landscape Ecol 33, 2047–2059 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-018-0727-8

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Keywords

  • Ecosystem services
  • Landscape services
  • Landscape metrics
  • Stakeholder engagement techniques
  • Spatial planning
  • Nature-based solutions