Wednesday 7
Biodiversity and Ecosystem services supporting urban resilience - a global perspective
Pamela Muehlman
› 11:35 - 12:30 (55min)
› JOFFRE 1-2
Understanding urban fragmentation and ecosystem services delivery for enhanced resilience
Patrick O'farrell  1@  
1 : The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research  (CSIR)  -  Website
PO Box 320; Stellenbosch 7599; South Africa -  Afrique du Sud

A crucial component in determining the resilience of cities requires an understanding of their ecology and the ecosystem services that flow within these social ecological systems. We investigated ecosystem service delivery in relation to urban development and landscape connectivity over a 150 year period for the City of Cape Town, South Africa. Our findings show that ecosystem services are provided by a range of variably configured open spaces where green space is highly fragmented and has transitioned into variable states ranging from the natural, to the novel, and to the highly transformed. This has multiple implications for ecosystem service delivery where some services remain unchanged, some are enhanced and others are lost. The effective outsourcing of provisioning services through time with city expansion and the disconcerting erosion of critical regulating functions within the city, rendering populations vulnerable, is highlighted. Fragmentation affects of the urban demand attention and understanding to be directed towards critically important sites of ecosystem service supply and their underlying connectivity requirements. However, certain service improves under these conditions. Urban ecologists have questioned the value of applying ecological principles developed for rural or wilderness landscapes within the urban context, where cities present a far greater complexity of ecological drivers. Our findings call for a reconsideration of how we view and assess ecosystem services within the planning and development of resilient cities. Old models that suppose rurally-derived and singularly informed models for urban resilience do not effectively engage with the social needs of city-dwellers, and novel approaches that engage with the distinct urban drivers are required.

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