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Synergies, Trade-offs, and Losses of Ecosystem Services in Urban Regions: an Integrated Multiscale Framework Applied to the Leipzig-Halle Region, Germany

Dagmar Haase, Humboldt University Berlin and Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany
Nina Schwarz, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany
Michael Strohbach, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Franziska Kroll, University of Kiel Ecology Centre
Ralf Seppelt, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Germany


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Because we have entered the ‘millennium of the cities’, urban ecological research needs to account for the provisions ecosystem services provide to urban regions. In urban areas, ecosystem service assessment studies need to account for the complex land use patterns, which change over relatively short periods of time. We discuss an analytical framework for the spatial and temporal integration of different ecosystem services in an urban region to determine synergies, trade-offs and losses, and we employ a case study in Leipzig-Halle, Germany. The following five ecosystem services, which are of special importance for urban areas, were selected: local climate regulation, recreation potential, biodiversity potential, food supply, and above-ground carbon storage. These services were analyzed from 1990 to 2006. Our results identified only slight increases in urbanization (1% or 3 km²) and in mining restoration (-11 km²). However, the detected land use changes led to synergies with biodiversity and climate regulation of > 50% of the total area, whereas trade-offs of approximately 60% were detected between variables such as climate regulation and recreation. Finally, we address both the opportunities and the challenges that were encountered in the integration study, specifically with respect to the application in land use planning.

Key words

Ecosystem services; Leipzig-Halle; synergies; trade-offs; urban regions
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087