Assessing mismatches in ecosystem services proficiency across the urban fabric of Porto (Portugal): The influence of structural and socioeconomic variables
Abstract Knowledge regarding Ecosystem Services (ES) delivery and the socio-ecological factors that influence their proficiency is essential to allow cities to adopt policies that lead to resource-efficient planning and greater resilience. As one of the matrix elements of urban ecological structure, vegetation may play a major role in promoting ES proficiency through planting design. This research addresses the heterogeneity of ES delivered by the urban vegetation of Porto, a Portuguese city. A methodology is proposed to investigate associations between socioeconomic indicators and structural variables of the urban forest, and also which structural variables of the urban forest, if any, differ along a socioeconomic gradient. Our results reveal that before setting planning and management goals, it is crucial to understand local patterns of ES and their relationships with socioeconomic patterns, which can be affected by variables such as building age. This should be followed by the identification of structural variables of the urban forest that better explain the differences, in order to target these through planning and management goals. The conceptual framework adopted in this research can guide adaptation of our methodology to other cities, providing insights for planning and management suitable to site-specific conditions and directly usable by stakeholders. Highlights Strong association found between patterns of wealth and structure of the urban forest. Less wealthy areas are more exposed to ES inequity. Building age affects linear relationship between ES proficiency and wealth. Diameter and leaf biomass surpassed the impact of tree density and type of species. Adaptable methodology able to provide easy-to-apply results for urban planning.
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