Sustainability and the Urban Forest: An Ecosystem Services Perspective

Keith H. Hirokawa
<span title="">2010</span> <i title="Elsevier BV"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Social Science Research Network</a> </i> &nbsp;
Recently, urban forests have drawn attention due to interest in the idea that urban forests provide essential ecosystem services. Indeed, urban forests provide the benefits of a natural, cost-effective system of green infrastructure. Trees capture air and water pollutants, as well as provide shade, habitat, and even social structure. These services have a surprising but significant economic value, and attention to the design of urban forests can be a local means of capturing that value. From an
more &raquo; ... ecosystem services perspective, the urban forest also reveals that the very existence of nature in the urban area occurs as both a conceptual and a physical construct. That is, trees in the urban area result from intention and design. This article argues that urban forestry is a local opportunity to engage in an exercise of selfdetermination and local identity. Urban forestry requires an investigation into the ties between the community's environmental, economic, and social needs, a realization of the potential of space and natural infrastructure, and a manipulation of the services provided by trees. Understanding the nature of urban forests as urban, contingent, and constructed empowers local governments to become ecosystem beneficiaries by effectively bringing nature into their communities. "Urban forests don't get the recognition that natural forests do. They don't encompass sweeping vistas and magnificent views, and they rarely provide critical habitat to endangered species. But they are vital.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.2139/ssrn.1722650</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:mqdpmzukmnelfbgzocw5cosyfq</a> </span>
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