Implications of Urban Growth and Farmland Loss for Ecosystem Services in the Western United States
A projected 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030. Urbanization has major impacts on ecosystem services, and therefore human well-being, but not all groups within a community experience the impacts of urbanization on ecosystem services the same. It is important for decision-makers to understand the trade-offs that occur with urbanization, as it relates to ecosystem services provision, as well as the perceptions of importance of ecosystem services among a population. In this paper, we measured a) areas at environmental risk due to urban growth, b) differences in societal demand for ecosystem services between socio-demographic groups, c) perceptions of urban and agricultural impacts to ecosystem services, and d) public awareness of current ecosystem services trends, in the Boise, Idaho, metropolitan area, one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. We applied urban growth projections to current land use-land cover, and found that agriculture is at highest risk of conversion. We then conducted over 400 face-to-face survey, measuring whether perceptions regarding ecosystem services from urban and agricultural land differ between socio-demographic groups. We found significant differences regarding perceived importance of ecosystem services. The general public placed higher importance on food production and alternative energy while experts placed higher importance on water quality and recreation. Overall, respondents perceived that urban land use negatively impacts more ecosystem services than agriculture land use. Urban areas were associated with positive impacts to local identity and recreation, while agriculture was positively associated with cultural heritage and food production. Both urban and agriculture land uses were negatively associated with water quality, air quality, and habitat for species with urban land having greater, negative impacts. Our results indicate a need to incorporate social demand for ecosystem services in urban planning, to ensure policy resilience and to appropriately address diverse perspectives.
Narducci, Jenna; Quintas-Soriano, Cristina; Castro, Antonio; Som-Castellano, Rebecca; and Brandt, Jodi S. (2019). "Implications of Urban Growth and Farmland Loss for Ecosystem Services in the Western United States". Land Use Policy, 86, 1-11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2019.04.029