Skip to main content

Valuation of ecosystem services of a nascent urban park in east Los Angeles, California

Abstract

People protect what they value, yet different people assign value to nature in different ways. The monetary valuation of ecosystem services (ES) is a strategy to estimate the worth of benefits provided by nature to humans and is increasingly common in cities where human populations are densest. Most ES valuation of urban areas are at the city scale with few studies at the parcel level, yet urban land decisions are typically made at the parcel level. Here we approximated the monetary value of ecosystem services for a single nascent urban park in the United States’ second most populous city, Los Angeles. Acknowledging no single method can capture the entire ES value of a location, we use four approaches to approximate a value range for this site. Using a combination of unoccupied aerial vehicle imagery and ground-truthing surveys, the park was partitioned by dominant land cover types to assess values derived from literature estimates, tree canopy features, and collected field-based metrics of all individual trees over 1.5 m height using the ecosystem service valuation functions of the i-Tree software suite. We also applied a more novel market-based approach to approximate the park’s overall value. We found calculated dollar values across and within the land cover types varied by orders of magnitude between assessment approaches yet were generally low due to limited mature vegetation cover. The present study is unique in providing a baseline assessment for a recently opened, highly urban park in a low-income, park-poor neighborhood of Los Angeles. More broadly, it provides ES valuation at the data-lacking parcel scale which is needed to better understand the ecological role and function of green spaces in cities.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Data Availability

Not applicable.

Code Availability

Not applicable.

References

  • Aronson MF, Lepczyk CA, Evans KL, Goddard MA, Lerman SB, MacIvor JS, Vargo T (2017) Biodiversity in the city: key challenges for urban green space management. Front Ecol Environ 15(4):189–196

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baró F, Chaparro L, Gómez-Baggethun E, Langemeyer J, Nowak DJ, Terradas J (2014) Contribution of ecosystem services to air quality and climate change mitigation policies: the case of urban forests in Barcelona, Spain. Ambio 43(4):466–479

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bermudez E(2010) After numerous attempts, construction of Ascot Hills Park begins. Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2010-jun-28-la-me-ascot-20100628-story.html

  • Bolund P, Hunhammar S (1999) Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecol Econ 29(2):293–301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brzoska P, Spāģe A (2020) From city-to site-dimension: assessing the urban ecosystem services of different types of green infrastructure. Land, 9(5), p.150

  • Campbell B (1980) Some mixed hardwood forest communities of the coastal ranges of southern California. Phytocoenologia 8(3/4):297–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Combrinck Z, Cilliers EJ, Lategan L, Cilliers S (2020) Revisiting the Proximity Principle with Stakeholder Input: Investigating Property Values and Distance to Urban Green Space in Potchefstroom. Land 9(7):235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Costanza R, de Groot R, Sutton P (2014) Changes in the global value of ecosystem services. Glob Environ Change 26:152–158

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Costanza R, d’Arge R, De Groot R, Farber S, Grasso M, Hannon B, Limburg K, Naeem S et al (1998) The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Ecol Econ 25(1):3–15

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Costanza R (2000) Social goals and the valuation of ecosystem services. Ecosystems 3:4–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Costanza R (2006) Nature: ecosystems without commodifying them. Nature 443:749

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chaisson EJ (2002) Cosmic Evolution: The Rise of Complexity in Nature. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Dasgupta P (2021) The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. HM Treasury, London

    Google Scholar 

  • De Groot RS, Wilson MA, Boumans RMJ (2002) A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services. Special issue: The dynamics and value of ecosystem services: integrating economic and ecological perspectives. Ecol Econ 41:393–408

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Frey D, Schaffner A (2004) Spatial and temporal pattern of monarch overwintering abundance in western North America. The monarch butterfly: biology and conservation, 167–176

  • Gillespie TW, Pincetl S, Brossard S, Smith J, Saatchi S, Pataki D, Saphores JD (2012) A time series of urban forestry in Los Angeles. Urban Ecosyst 15(1):233–246

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gómez-Baggethun E, Ruiz-Pérez M (2011) Economic valuation and the commodification of ecosystem services. Prog Phys Geogr 35(5):613–628

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Haase D, Larondelle N, Andersson E, Artmann M, Borgström S, Breuste J, Gomez-Baggethun E, Gren à et al (2014) A quantitative review of urban ecosystem service assessments: concepts, models, and implementation. Ambio 43(4):413–433

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IPBES (2019) Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. In: Brondizio ES, Settele J, Díaz S, Ngo HT (eds) IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany

    Google Scholar 

  • i-Tree Eco User’s Manual (2020) I-Tree Software Suite v6. http://www.itreetools.org

  • Kramer A (2018) The unaffordable city: Housing and transit in North American cities. Cities 83:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kim G, Coseo P (2018) Urban park systems to support sustainability: the role of urban park systems in hot arid urban climates. Forests 9(7):439

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lepczyk CA, Aronson MF, Evans KL, Goddard MA, Lerman SB, MacIvor JS (2017) Biodiversity in the city: fundamental questions for understanding the ecology of urban green spaces for biodiversity conservation. Bioscience 67(9):799–807

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (2021) Park Advisory Board. https://www.laparks.org/volunteer/pab

  • Meyer J, Reinhart CM, Trebesch C (2019) Sovereign bonds since Waterloo. No. w25543. National Bureau of Economic Research

  • Mexia T, Vieira J, Príncipe A, Anjos A, Silva P, Lopes N, Freitas C, Santos-Reis M et al (2018) Ecosystem services: Urban parks under a magnifying glass, vol 160. Environmental research, pp 469–478

  • Nowak DJ, Crane DE (2002) Carbon storage and sequestration by urban trees in the USA. Environ Pollut 116(3):381–389

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nowak DJ, Crane DE, Stevens JC (2006) Air pollution removal by urban trees and shrubs in the United States. Urban forestry & urban greening 4(3–4):115–123

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nowak DJ, Maco S, Binkley M(2018) i-Tree: Global tools to assess tree benefits and risks to improve forest management. Arboricultural Consultant. 51 (4): 10–13., 51(4), 10–13

  • Pavlik BM, Muick PC, Johnson S, Popper M (1991) Oaks of California. Cachuma Press, Los Olivos, CA, p 184

    Google Scholar 

  • QGIS.org, QGIS Geographic Information System. QGIS Association. http://www.qgis.org

  • Richardson JJ, Moskal LM (2014) Uncertainty in urban forest canopy assessment: Lessons from Seattle, WA, USA. Urban forestry & urban greening 13(1):152–157

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rottenborn SC (2000) Nest-site selection and reproductive success of urban Red-shouldered Hawks in central California. J Raptor Res 34(1):18–25

    Google Scholar 

  • Sagoff M (2011) The quantification and valuation of ecosystem services. Ecol Econ 70(3):497–502

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schneider J (2012) Ascot Hills Park Framework Plan. Los Angeles Ascot Hills Park Advisory Board

  • Sutton PC, Anderson SJ (2016) Holistic valuation of urban ecosystem services in New York City’s Central Park. Ecosyst Serv 19:87–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB): Ecological and Economic Foundations, edited by P. Kumar, London, Earthscan Publications, United Nations Environmental Programme (2010) 410 pp

  • The Trust for Public Lands ParkServe tool (2020) https://parkserve.tpl.org/mapping/index.html?CityID=0644000 Accessed December 12, 2020

  • Tinch R, Beaumont N, Sunderland T, Ozdemiroglu E, Barton D, Bowe C et al (2019) Economic valuation of ecosystem goods and services: a review for decision makers. J Environ Econ Policy 8(4):359–378

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • United States Census Bureau (2020) City of Los Angeles California Quick Facts https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/losangelescitycalifornia

  • United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, SER (2018) The World’s Cities in 2018—Data Booklet (ST/ESA/ SER.A/417)

  • Wolf KL, Robbins AS (2015) Metro nature, environmental health, and economic value. Environ Health Perspect 123(5):390–398

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolf K, DiTomaso J (2016) Management of blue gum eucalyptus in California requires region-specific consideration. Calif Agric 70(1):39–47

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge that this study site is on the ancestral lands of the indigenous Gabrielino/Tongva people. The authors sincerely thank the anonymous reviewer and community stakeholders for manuscript feedback, including Jerry Schneider, Kat Superfisky, Steve Dunlap, and Joe Laskin, and thank the LMU Biology Department and LMU Office of Research & Creative Arts for research support. The authors thank Kyle Cavanaugh and Cami Pawlak for generous collaboration on UAV images. D. Willette also thanks Marga Joaquin for logistical support.

Funding

None.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

KW and DAW designed the study, conducted field work and data analysis, and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Demian Alexander Willette.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors whose names are listed immediately below certify that they have NO affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or nonfinancial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript. Author names: Kesterlyn Wilson, Demian Willette.

Ethics approval

Not Applicable.

Consent to participate

We give our consent to participate in the publication process.

Consent for publication

We give our consent for the publication of submitted manuscript.

Human and animal rights

Not Applicable.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary Material 1

Supplementary Material 2

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wilson, K., Willette, D.A. Valuation of ecosystem services of a nascent urban park in east Los Angeles, California. Urban Ecosyst (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-022-01267-y

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-022-01267-y

Keywords

  • Cities
  • Ecosystem
  • Open space park
  • Valuation