Changes in perspectives of the values and benefits of nature

Smith, DJ 2013, Changes in perspectives of the values and benefits of nature , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Social-ecological systems describe interactions between humans and nature. The ecosystem approach provides a holistic system to manage and understand these interactions, and to maintain and enhance ecosystem services - the benefits nature provides to humans. While much theoretical discourse posits various approaches to the ecosystem approach and ecosystem services, there exists a lack of practical applications examining these approaches, especially in urban and peri-urban environments. The current research used a case study to examine the efficacy of integrating environmental management and ecosystem services within an urban greenspace social-ecological system. Initially, the most pertinent ecosystem services and management options were established. This was achieved through expert opinion, a rapid assessment, and a literature search which enabled the identification of a preferred management approach. This resulted in conservation grazing cattle over a 5 hectare salt marsh, typical of the Upper Mersey Estuary in the UK and situated within an urban area. The effects of cattle grazing on four relevant ecosystem services: (i) wild species diversity, (ii) environmental settings, (iii) carbon storage, and (iv) immobilisation of pollutants, were evaluated over two years. The aim of the evaluation was to examine how the grazing intervention affected ecosystem services. Both quantitative and qualitative measures - reflecting the interdisciplinarity of the ecosystem services concept - were used in the evaluation. For the ecosystem services examined, the results add significant knowledge to the current discourse, and are used to inform new avenues for research. There was an increase in the cultural services (wild species diversity and environmental settings), regulatory services of carbon storage showed no change while differences in the immobilisation of pollutants observed were explained by local variation at the site. These findings show that by integrating ecosystem services and environmental management, larger scale benefits to humans from management options can be recognised and planned for in future natural spaces management, thereby increasing the positive rewards nature provides in abundance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: James, P (Supervisor) and Oldfield, P (Supervisor)
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Funders: Halton Borough Council
Depositing User: DJ Smith
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2013 12:11
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2021 13:43
References: Please see uploaded thesis.

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