Urbanization alters ecosystem service preferences in a Small Island Developing State

Lapointe, Marie, Gurney, Georgina G., and Cumming, Graeme S. (2020) Urbanization alters ecosystem service preferences in a Small Island Developing State. Ecosystem Services, 43. 101109.

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Urbanization entails social, economic and environmental changes that can transform how people relate to nature and disconnect them from it, with consequences for their wellbeing. The impacts of urbanization on human-nature relationships viewed through people's ecosystem service (ES) preferences are however poorly understood, especially in the rapidly urbanizing Global South. We tested the hypothesis that, although both urban and rural people depend on ES, people in cities would value ES less because they are less directly connected to ecosystems. Using a paired urban-rural study design, we conducted 200 interviews with urban and rural dwellers along the coast of the Solomon Islands, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), to compare the importance they attributed to different ES and ecosystem disservices (EDS) for wellbeing, as well as their satisfaction with ES. Although urban and rural dwellers reported that ES were very important for their wellbeing, urban dwellers' ratings were lower, supporting our hypothesis. Urban dwellers were less satisfied than rural dwellers with the benefits that they received from ES and would have preferred to benefit more, showing that they were less connected to nature. Both urban and rural dwellers perceived important negative impacts from EDS. Thus, even a relatively recent urbanization process can alter people's relationships with nature, reducing significantly the benefits that people derive from ecosystems. Urban planning and environmental management can help reconnect people to nature and create more sustainable cities by addressing people's needs and preferences towards nature, as revealed through ES and EDS socio-cultural valuation.

Item ID: 63564
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2212-0416
Keywords: Socio-cultural valuation, Social-ecological systems, Ecosystem disservices, Solomon Islands, Cities, Nature's contributions to people
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Copyright Information: © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved
Funders: James S. McDonnell Foundation, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Data: https://doi.org/10.25903/3s4e-t744
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2020 07:45
FoR Codes: 33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3304 Urban and regional planning > 330404 Land use and environmental planning @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 100%
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