Recalling Urban Nature : Linking City People to Ecosystem Services
Abstract: Societal development is dependent on the generation of ecosystem services (ES) to sustain it; however, many ES are degrading. This thesis investigates how social-ecological features behind practices of actor groups shape the generation of ES. The empirical basis is case studies in the urban landscape of Stockholm, Sweden, and the methodological approach is interdisciplinary. Paper I shows that the urban landscape owes it current flow of ES to co-evolutionary processes and that governance with the aim of sustaining ES must take into account historical property rights and the involvement of a diversity of actor groups, as well as ecological processes of the larger landscape. Paper II studies allotment gardens, cemeteries and city parks in relation to the generation of pollination, seed dispersal and pest regulation. Differences in social features behind practice are reflected primary as higher abundance of pollinators in the informally managed allotment gardens and as differences in the compositions of seed dispersers and insectivores’ birds. Thus, voluntary and often ignored actor groups, motivated by sense-of-place, support the generation of some ES here. Paper III shows how practice, linked to ES generation, is retained and stored among allotment gardeners, and modified and transmitted through time, by means of social-ecological memory (SE-memory). SE-memory is an emergent property of a dual process of participation and reification and it facilitates monitoring of local change and links practice, often in habits, to place specific processes that underlie provisioning ES. Paper IV explores how spatial scale mismatches between ecological process and processes of management can be bridged by a spatially explicit and flexible social network structure of governance. Urban ES are a product of human driven co-evolution, consequently sustaining ES in urban landscapes is not about conservation without people, but shaped by and dependent on management practice by people. Practice that links to generation of ES are facilitated by SE-memory of local actors that holds long term management rights. Consequently, local communities of ecosystem practice, which contribute to the production of ES should explicitly be taken into account in urban green governance.
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