Valuation of ecosystem services of a nascent urban park in east Los Angeles, California

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People protect what they value, yet different people assign value to nature in different ways. The monetary valuation of ecosystem services (ES) is a strategy to estimate the worth of benefits provided by nature to humans and is increasingly common in cities where human populations are densest. Most ES valuation of urban areas are at the city scale with few studies at the parcel level, yet urban land decisions are typically made at the parcel level. Here we approximated the monetary value of ecosystem services for a single nascent urban park in the United States’ second most populous city, Los Angeles. Acknowledging no single method can capture the entire ES value of a location, we use four approaches to approximate a value range for this site. Using a combination of unoccupied aerial vehicle imagery and ground-truthing surveys, the park was partitioned by dominant land cover types to assess values derived from literature estimates, tree canopy features, and collected field-based metrics of all individual trees over 1.5 m height using the ecosystem service valuation functions of the i-Tree software suite. We also applied a more novel market-based approach to approximate the park’s overall value. We found calculated dollar values across and within the land cover types varied by orders of magnitude between assessment approaches yet were generally low due to limited mature vegetation cover. The present study is unique in providing a baseline assessment for a recently opened, highly urban park in a low-income, park-poor neighborhood of Los Angeles. More broadly, it provides ES valuation at the data-lacking parcel scale which is needed to better understand the ecological role and function of green spaces in cities.


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Recommended Citation

Wilson, K, Willette DA. (2022) Valuation of ecoystem services of a nascent urban park in east Los Angeles. Urban Ecosystems, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-022-01267-y