Periurbanization and conservation pressures over remnants of native vegetation: impact on ecosystem services for a Latin-American capital city

Abstract

Urban expansion in Latin-American cities is faster than urban planning. In order to implement sustainable planning the capacity of peri-urban areas to provide ecosystem services must be evaluated in the context of competing urbanization and conservation pressures. In this study we analyzed the effect of urban expansion on peri-urban vegetation of the Metropolitan Area of Santiago and what ecosystem services are provided by El Panul, land rich in biodiversity embedded in the fringe of the city. The city has lost vegetation while urbanized areas grow. Under this context, we evaluated the multi-functionality of El Panul through the quantification of three ecosystem services (ES): sense of place through the interviews of 60 residents, recreation via GIS analyses, and local climate regulation determined with air temperature measurements. El Panul increased the provision of urban green spaces, where inhabitants recognize and appreciate ES, and it plays a significant role in mitigating the urban heat island on summer nights. ES have emerged as a concept and framework for evaluating competing urban development alternatives.

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