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Ecology and Society

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Urban community development, Conservation, Ecosystems


Urbanization disrupts landscapes and ecosystem functions, which poses threats to biodiversity, social systems, and human health, particularly among vulnerable populations. Urban land-use planners are faced with competing demands for housing, safety, transportation, and economic development and often lack tools to integrate these with protecting environmental functions. We identify three major barriers to integrating the benefits that flow with connected, functioning ecosystems into land-use planning. The lack of a shared language among planners and stakeholders poses a barrier to the restoration and preservation of ecological features. Methods of incorporating the benefits from connectivity are not standardized because values are not readily available or lack credibility. Ecological restoration tends to be poorly coordinated at broad scales, and thus often fails to achieve landscape-level objectives. To address these challenges, we developed a novel integrated framework, the Connectivity Benefits Framework (CBF), which combines the benefits from three categories of ecosystem connectivity with benefit- and risk-relevant indicators, enabling both monetary and non-monetary valuation of benefits. Moreover, it provides a method to identify and visualize the multiple and overlapping benefits from management actions to aid in prioritizing initiatives that support ecosystem functions. Unlike software tools that incorporate generalized values of ecosystem services at a landscape level, the CBF guides a systematic approach to community-engaged land-use planning that prioritizes localized societal needs while protecting biodiversity and ecosystem function for more equitable, resilient cities. We demonstrate the potential for multiple overlapping benefits from actions that restore and protect ecosystem connectivity by applying the framework to a transit planning project in Portland, Oregon.


Copyright © 2022 by the author(s). Published here under license by the Resilience Alliance.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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