Nature as a nuisance? Ecosystem services and disservices to urban lifestyle

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  • Jari Lyytimäki, Finnish Environment Institute, Finland
  • Lars Kjerulf Petersen
  • Bo Normander, Denmark
  • Peter Bezák, Slovakia
  • Department of Policy Analysis

The lifestyle of people living in urban areas has profound direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity. However, the role of urban lifestyle as a driving force of biodiversity change is not very well understood. This is partly because there is a gap between a social science approach focusing on lifestyle and a natural science approach focusing on biodiversity. We propose that the concept of ecological services and disservices is useful in connecting these approaches. Ecosystem services produced by urban green areas are the focus of a wide range of environmental studies, but disservices - such as safety issues in dark parks or pollen causing health problems - have gained only sporadic attention in environmental studies focused on urban ecosystems. We review and discuss different urban ecosystem disservices from a Northern European perspective. We conclude by addressing the key limitations and possibilities of the use of the concept of ecological disservices in urban biodiversity studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Sciences
Pages (from-to)161-172
Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Research areas

  • Biodiversity, ecosystem disservices, ecosystem services, lifestyle, urban planning

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