A review of urban ecosystem services: six key challenges for future research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Global urbanization creates opportunities and challenges for humanwell-being and transition towards sustainability. Urban areas are human-environment systems that depend fundamentally on ecosystems,
and thus require an understanding of the management of urban ecosystem services to ensure sustainable urban planning. The purpose of this study is to provid easy stematic review of urban ecosystem sservices research, which addresses the combined domain of ecosystem services and urban development. We
examined emerging trends and gaps in how urban ecosystem services are conceptualized in peer-reviewed case study literature, including the geographical distribution ofresearch,the development and
use of the urban ecosystem services concept,and thei nvolvement of stakeholders. We highlight six challenges aimed at strengthening the concept's potential to facilitate meaningful inter-and transdis
ciplinary work for ecosystem services research and planning. Achieving a cohesive conceptual approach in ther esearch field will address(i)the need for more extensive spatial and contextual coverage,(ii) continual clarification of definitions, (iii)recognition of limited datat ransferability,(iv)more comprehensive stakeholder involvement,(v)more integrated research efforts,and(vi)translation of scientific findings into actionable knowledge,feeding information back into planning and management.We conclude with recommendations for conducting further research while incorporating these challenges.


  • Christopher Luederitz
  • Ebba Brink
  • F Gralla
  • V Hermelingmeier
  • M Meyer
  • L Niven
  • L Panzer
  • S Partelow
  • A-L Rau
  • R Sasaki
  • D Abson
  • D Lang
  • Christine Wamsler
  • H von Wehrden
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Ecosystem service cascade model, cities, peri-urban, Social-ecological systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-112
JournalEcosystem Services
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

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