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Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Land Use Policy journal homepage:

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Land Use Policy

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/landusepol Ecosystem services in urban land use planning policies: A

Ecosystem services in urban land use planning policies: A case study of Ontario municipalities

Sharon T. Lam a , Tenley M. Conway b ,

a Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3G3, Canada b Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Mississauga, 3359 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada

T
T

ARTICLE INFO

Keywords:

Cultural ecosystem services Land use planning Ecosystem functions Urban ecosystems Green infrastructure

ABSTRACT

Land use plans are widely used to guide urban development, which in turn can impact the magnitude, diversity and spatial distribution of ecosystem services that occur within urban areas. However, few studies have assessed whether ecosystem services have been included in land use plans. The purpose of this paper is to present a case study of the ten most populous municipalities in Ontario, Canada, to determine whether and how ecosystem services have been incorporated in each of their land use plans. Through a review of o cial plans, we found that municipalities have adopted varying approaches in their consideration of ecosystem services, with several municipalities explicitly adopting an ecosystem-based approach to planning. While the term, ecosystem services, is rarely used, we found that all o cial plans made reference to a variety of speci c ecosystem services, with several cultural and supporting services most frequently identi ed. There is opportunity to enhance the inclusion of other types of ecosystem services, including provisioning and regulating services, in all of the o cial plans examined. Our case study also highlights the importance of incorporating a working denition of ecosystem services in policy documents that help guide municipalities and urban planners, adopting a broader focus on a greater variety of ecosystem services, and delineating clearer linkages between speci c service providing units and associated ecosystem services.

1. Introduction

Cities are complex social-ecological systems where ecological pro- cesses and human inuences intertwine ( Alberti et al., 2003 ; Gómez- Baggethun and Barton, 2013 ). As the worlds population is becoming increasingly urban (United Nations, 2014 ), there is growing recognition that urban ecosystems provide critical bene ts for human well-being. These benets, which are derived from ecological functions and pro- cesses, are known as ecosystem services ( Bolund and Hunhammar, 1999 ). Ecosystem services are comprised of nature s provision of goods, such as food and fresh water, as well as benets, such as aesthetic value, cultural heritage signi cance, mental health bene ts and support for active and passive recreation, among many others ( Bolund and Hunhammar, 1999 ; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 ; Gómez- Baggethun and Barton, 2013 ). With the rapid expansion of ecosystem services research over the past decade ( Haase et al., 2014 ), the eco- system services concept has been recognized as a useful tool to identify and communicate the benets and values of nature, especially in urban areas (e.g. Gómez-Baggethun and Barton, 2013 ; Andersson et al., 2014 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ).

The provision of ecosystem services is dependent upon healthy ecological systems ( Kremen, 2005 ; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 ). However, approximately 60 percent of the ecosystem services examined in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) were con- sidered degraded or used unsustainably. Urbanization is a key driver that poses many challenges to the health of ecosystem services through the removal of natural land cover, increases in the amount of im- pervious surfaces, concentration of people, and increases in waste dis- charge and nutrient loading ( Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 ; Alberti, 2005 ; Tratalos et al., 2007 ). There is also a plethora of urban ecosystem services that exist within cities that are facing many loca- lized pressures, such as high levels of pollution, limited growth space, and high levels of human disturbance ( Grimm et al., 2008 ). These stressors present challenges to the provision of essential, life-supporting ecosystem services that will be required to meet the demands of our growing population ( Kremen, 2005 ; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 ). While urban planning may lead to land use changes and develop- ment that can result in negative impacts on natural systems, it can also contribute to their protection and associated bene ts ( Gómez-

Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: sharon.lam@mail.utoronto.ca (S.T. Lam), tenley.conway@utoronto.ca (T.M. Conway).

Received 26 September 2017; Received in revised form 8 February 2018; Accepted 15 June 2018

0264-8377/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway

Baggethun and Barton, 2013 ; Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ). Land use planning policies, such as Canada s municipal o cial plans (similar to comprehensive plans in the United States), help guide how planning authorities regulate urban development, which in turn may help protect and enhance ecosystem services in urban areas. For example, urban planning policies may provide direction and support for urban heat island mitigation, stormwater management, and the provision of re- creational open spaces. Over the past few decades, a growing body of literature has emerged, calling for the integration of ecosystem services into land use planning (e.g. Gómez-Baggethun and Barton, 2013 ; Jansson, 2013 ; Andersson et al., 2014 ; Holzinger et al., 2015 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ; BenDor et al., 2017 ). There has also been a small but growing body of studies investigating if ecosystem services have actually been incorporated into urban planning policies, and how they are being in- tegrated (e.g. Piwowarczyk et al., 2013 ; Wilkinson et al., 2013 ; Kabisch et al., 2015 ; Hansen et al., 2015 ; Mascarenhas et al., 2015 ; Rall et al., 2015 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ; Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ). These studies have helped to address the limited empirical assessment of planning policies. This paper seeks to contribute to these e orts by presenting a case study of the ten most populous municipalities in Ontario, Canada. A review of their local and regional o cial plans has been conducted to answer the following questions: (1) to what extent have ecosystem services and other related concepts been incorporated in municipal land use planning policies in Ontario, (2) what types of ecosystem services are represented in these plans, and (3) is there variation in approaches across di erent municipalities? The Province of Ontario oers a unique case study as each muni- cipality is required by provincial legislation to adopt an o cial plan, which oers an opportunity to compare and examine how munici- palities have interpreted provincial policies and adapted these polices to suit their local contexts. Furthermore, in recent years the provincial government has been actively encouraging increased intensi cation and the concept of smart growth, while also promoting environmental conservation and sustainable development ( Government of Ontario, 2014 ). These provincial policies help shape a planning context that is simultaneously supportive of urban growth and ecosystem protection. Understanding the planning policies that set the framework for devel- opment is a rst step to identifying potential ways to advance the management of ecosystem services in urban areas for the mutual bene t of a healthier environment and human population.

2. Ecosystem services and land use planning

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) has helped to mainstream the concept of ecosystem services in both the natural and social sciences. The assessment identi ed four categories of ecosystem services: (1) provisioning, including food, bre, fuel, wood, natural medicines, and pharmaceuticals; (2) regulating, including climate moderation, erosion regulation, and water puri cation; (3) cultural, including spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, re ection, re- creation, and aesthetic experiences; and (4) supporting, including photosynthesis, pollination, habitat, nutrient cycling, and hydrological cycling (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 ). While the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment s (2005) de nitions and classi cation scheme are the most commonly adopted framework in ecosystem services research, alternative de nitions and classi ca- tions have since been proposed to help operationalize the concept ( Fisher et al., 2009 ; Schröter et al., 2014 ). In particular, two inter- related ideas have emerged through the literature that have helped to re ne the ecosystem services concept. These include: 1) the criterion that ecosystem services must have connections to human well-being, and 2) the need to separate means and ends in recognition of di erences in meaning among terms that are closely associated with ecosystem services, including structure, function, and process. First, ecosystem services can ow from ecological structures,

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processes, or functions, but must have some connection to human well- being ( Fisher and Turner, 2008 ; Fisher et al., 2009 ; de Groot et al., 2010 ; Haines-Young and Potschin, 2010; Hansen and Pauleit, 2014 ). For example, trees provide natural shade that can help reduce surface and air temperatures but without human beneciaries, the shade pro- vided by trees would just be a natural function rather than a service. Fundamentally, the ecosystem services concept is an anthropocentric one, which carries the objective of advancing ecosystem services to achieve greater sustainability, and human health and well-being ( Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005 ; Costanza et al., 2007 ; Haines-Young and Potschin, 2010 ). While the ecosystem services concept has been criticized for its

anthropocentricism, the concept is not limited to promoting the in- strumental values of nature as it also recognizes values that are inherent

to the existence of nature (e.g. spiritual value; Schröter et al., 2014 ).

Furthermore, the anthropocentric framing of ecosystem services pro- vides additional arguments for the protection of the environment that can be more e ective, particularly in urban areas, than arguments calling for human action to protect the environment for the environ- ment s sake ( Schröter et al., 2014 ). Recognizing the benets and values

of ecological systems can then provide rationales for their protection

from the harmful e ects of development ( Schröter et al., 2014 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ). Second, the need to separate means and ends was rst raised by Wallace (2007) and has subsequently been adopted by several authors (e.g. Fisher and Turner, 2008 ; Fisher et al., 2009 ; Burkhard et al., 2012 ). Means refer to the processes through which the services are achieved, while ends refer to the services themselves (Wallace, 2007). It has been recognized that this delineation is necessary to help facilitate the implementation of ecosystem services research ( Fisher and Turner, 2008 ). This study has adopted this conception of ecosystem services pro- posed by Fisher and colleagues ( 2008 ; 2009 ) to help dierentiate be- tween terms associated with means (ecosystem structure, functions and processes) on the one hand, and ends (ecosystem services) on the other hand. Structure refers to the physical biotic and abiotic elements that are part of ecosystems (e.g. woodlands, wetlands, and trees; Haines- Young and Potschin, 2010 ). These physical components have also been referred to as service providing units in ecosystem services research and land use planning practice ( Kremen, 2005 ; Haase et al., 2014). Func- tion s are the naturally-occurring capacities of an ecosystem and its components (e.g. soil enables the in ltration of rainwater into the ground; Haines-Young and Potschin, 2010 ). Finally, ecosystem processes are complex interactions among biotic and abiotic elements of ecosys- tems (e.g. nutrient cycling, and predation; Wallace, 2007 ; Haines- Young and Potschin, 2010 ). Together, these three components underpin the provision of ecosystem services (i.e., ends), that can contribute to people s health and well-being ( Haines-Young and Potschin, 2010 ).

2.1. Integrating ecosystem services in land use planning

Land use planning oers many opportunities to incorporate the ecosystem services concept in the urban development process ( Albert et al., 2014 , 2016 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ). Land use plans often serve as mechanisms to guide development, which in turn can a ect the

health, diversity, and spatial distribution of ecosystem services ( Albert et al., 2014 ; Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ). Speci cally, ecosystem service provisioning can be integrated into policies and plans, as well as the development approvals process, to help avoid negative impacts on service providing units, enhance their provision of ecosystem services, and weigh the benets and drawbacks of di erent development options ( Jansson, 2013 ; Mascarenhas et al., 2014 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ). Using an ecosystem framework in comprehensive planning can provide

a robust approach to facilitate sustainable urban development

( Brauman et al., 2007 ; Grêt-Regamey et al., 2013 ; Biggs et al., 2015 ). Ideally the planning process translates community goals into land use

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway

priorities. Explicitly incorporating speci c ecosystem services into plans facilitates the combination of environmental information and commu- nity values to ensure desired services are protected during urban de- velopment ( Albert et al., 2016 ). A study by Woodru and BenDor (2016) comparing the compre- hensive plans of Damascus, Oregon and Cincinnati, Ohio found that Damascus plan, which has been framed as an ecosystem service-based plan, identi ed over 50 policies related to ecosystem services. Mean- while, Cincinnati s comprehensive plan, which has not adopted the same approach, did not include any policies related to ecosystem ser- vices. This study helps to illustrate how the adoption of an ecosystem service-based approach can help guide the integration of ecosystem service considerations in planning policies. While the ecosystem services concept can serve as a useful tool, there remain many barriers to the integration of ecosystem services in land use plans ( Albert et al., 2014 ; Mascarenhas et al., 2014 ; Kabisch et al., 2015 ; Rall et al., 2015 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ). For ex- ample, there is a lack of guidance on what information is required to inform decisions, and when the ecosystem services concept should be applied in the planning process ( Albert et al., 2014 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ). There also continues to be confusion about the eco- system services concept among planning practitioners, leading to lim- ited application of the concept ( Albert et al., 2014 ; Mascarenhas et al., 2014 ). Existing studies of ecosystem services and urban planning po- licies have demonstrated that while few policy and guidance documents have explicitly referenced ecosystem services, implicit references to ecosystem services can be found where plans refer to the bene ts provided by nature (e.g. Piwowarczyk et al., 2013 ; Wilkinson et al., 2013 ; Kabisch et al., 2015 ; Hansen et al., 2015 ; Mascarenhas et al., 2015 ; Rall et al., 2015 ; Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ). However, the inclusion of ecosystem services appears uneven and potentially limited to a few services when an ecosystem service-based approach has not been adopted. For example, Wilkinson et al. (2013) conducted a com- parative review of strategic spatial plans in Melbourne and Stockholm between 1929 and 2010. Of the 16 plans reviewed, the authors found that only two types of ecosystem services were included in all plans (i.e. freshwater provisioning and recreational opportunities), and no re- ference was made to 11 of the 39 ecosystem services identi ed by the authors prior to the review. BenDor et al. (2017) identify the need to assess the role of ecosystem services in comprehensive planning processes. Existing studies ex- amining ecosystem services in urban planning policies have primarily employed content analysis methods, which are sometimes com- plemented by stakeholder interviews. Most of these studies have been conducted within the contexts of Europe and the United States, and have focused primarily on larger cities such as New York, Seattle, Berlin and Stockholm (e.g. Kabisch et al., 2015 ; Hansen et al., 2015; Rall et al., 2015 ). More research in di erent planning contexts is needed to add further perspectives to existing comparative studies (Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ) and/or help validate these ndings. Additional com- parative studies across municipalities, including areas governed by the same legislation, may also help reveal further patterns and areas for improvement.

2.2. The land use planning system in Ontario

In Ontario, the land use planning system is a policy-led system, based on provincial legislation, plans, and policy statements. The Ontario Planning Act (1990) , R.S.O. Chapter P.13 ( Planning Act ) is the primary piece of planning legislation, requiring municipalities to develop o cial plans that contain goals, objectives and policies es- tablished primarily to manage and direct physical change and the ef- fects on the social, economic and natural environment [Section 16(1) (a)]. Since 2015, municipalities have been required to undertake a comprehensive review and revision of their ocial plans every 10 years ( Government of Ontario, 2015 ).

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The Planning Act establishes a series of guiding planning principles, including the protection of the natural environment. The purpose of the legislation is given as: promoting sustainable economic development in a healthy natural environment (Section 1 .1a). The Planning Act also sets out the matters of provincial interest, and the rst item in the list gives emphasis to the environment, calling for [t]he protection of ecological systems, including natural areas, features and functions (Section 2a). That said, this is the only instance in the entire Act where the term ecological systems is used, although the Act does contain ad- ditional policies pertaining to the protection of natural features and areas under its natural heritage policies [section 34(3.2)]. In addition to the Planning Act, matters of provincial interest re- lating to land use planning are further elaborated in the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS ; Government of Ontario, 2014 ). The PPS in- cludes requirements and guidelines for municipalities developing o- cial plans. It reinforces the Planning Act s commitments towards a clean and healthy environment, and the protection of the province s natural heritage resources. In addition, the PPS calls for the maintenance, re- storation and, wherever possible, improvement of natural features and their long-term ecological functions. Ecological functions are de ned as the natural processes, products or services that living and non-living environments provide or perform within or between species, ecosys- tems and landscapes. These may include biological, physical and socio- economic interactions ( Government of Ontario, 2014, p.41 ). The PPS also provides some reasons for why ecological functions should be protected, including the need to: conserve biodiversity, protect essential ecological processes and public health and safety, provide for the production of food and bre, and minimize environ- mental and social impacts ( Government of Ontario, 2014, p.4 ). While the policies in the Planning Act and PPS have not made any explicit reference to ecosystem services, the PPS does begin to allude to some of the underlying reasons for why natural features should be protected, restored, and enhanced, which align with an ecosystem services per- spective. Presenting these justi cations is important to help raise public awareness, enhance support for environmental protection and stew- ardship, and help guide municipal policies and development. Related to ecosystem services is the concept of green infrastructure, which is also used once in the PPS, calling for planning authorities to promote green infrastructure to complement [grey] infrastructure (Section 1 .6.2). Green infrastructure is de ned as the natural and human-made elements that provide ecological and hydrological func- tions and processes ( Government of Ontario, 2014 ). Examples of green infrastructure include: natural heritage features and systems, park- lands, stormwater management systems, street trees, urban forests, natural channels, permeable surfaces, and green roofs ( Government of Ontario, 2014 ). Since green infrastructure encompasses the ecological functions and processes that create ecosystem services, the inclusion of green infrastructure in municipal o cial plans presents another way of integrating ecosystem concepts into planning policies. There are, however, no requirements for municipalities to promote or take any speci c actions related to green infrastructure. The Province has established requirements for the protection of natural areas, features and functions through the concept of the Natural Heritage System (NHS). The NHS is de ned in the PPS as a system made up of natural heritage features and areas, and linkages intended to provide connectivity (at the regional or site level) and support nat- ural processes which are necessary to maintain biological and geolo- gical diversity, natural functions, viable populations of indigenous species, and ecosystems ( Government of Ontario, 2014, p.45 ). These are fundamental to the provision of ecosystem services although no further guidance is o ered on how to integrate the concept of eco- system services in municipal planning and development. However, it is important to note that while municipal policies cannot con ict with provincial policies, municipalities can go beyond these minimum re- quirements and apply their own innovative approaches to the man- agement of their urban ecological systems.

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway

Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Fig. 1. Map of study area

Fig. 1. Map of study area municipalities (in order of population size).

3. Methods

3.1. Study area

This case study involves the ten most populous cities in Ontario (Canada), which are situated in the southern part of the province ( Fig. 1 ; Table 1 ). The cities are also among the 25 most populous mu- nicipalities in Canada ( Government of Canada, 2017 ). While the cities vary by population size and density, they represent urbanized areas that continue to experience population growth, posing threats to ecosystem structures and functions and their potential to provide ecosystem ser- vices ( Table 2 ). As relatively large municipalities, they are also more likely to have the planning resources to implement ideas beyond pro- vincial requirements, and these ideas often serve as models for smaller Ontario municipalities. Half of the ten cities included in the study are single-tier munici- palities, while the remaining are lower-tier municipalities. Lower-tier municipalities are governed by an upper-tier municipality which oversees matters on a regional scale. Since land use planning authority in Ontario is shared among lower- and upper-tier municipalities, the relevant upper-tier municipalities (i.e., Peel Region, York Region, and Waterloo Region) were also included in the analysis.

3.2. Analysis

A content analysis of the o cial plans of the local and regional municipalities was completed. Similar to prior research, this study also employs a content analysis method to explore the extent to which municipalities have considered ecosystem services in their ocial plans as justi cations for why urban ecosystems should be protected, re- stored, or enhanced. To measure the extent of inclusion, this study uses frequency of mentions as an indicator of the level of integration of

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ecosystem services and related concepts within an ocial plan. As suggested by Bauler and Pipart, (2013 ) and Mascarenhas et al. (2015) , the number of mentions of a concept is one indication of the level of conceptual adoption. Following previous studies (e.g. Piwowarczyk et al., 2013 ; Wilkinson et al., 2013 ; Kabisch et al., 2015 ; Hansen et al., 2015 ; Mascarenhas et al., 2015 ; Rall et al., 2015 ; Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ), both explicit and implicit references to ecosystem services and related concepts were analyzed. A total of 13 municipal o cial plans were reviewed, all of which are accessible online. The content analysis was conducted in four parts. First, we devel- oped a guide to establish a consistent framework for identifying explicit and implicit references, taking a directed content analysis approach ( Hsieh and Shannon, 2005 ). The guide sets out four categories of data pertaining to ecosystem services, functions, service providing units, and green infrastructure that form the parameters for our data extraction. These categories were selected based on previous plan analyses ( Wilkinson et al., 2013 ; Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ), as well as past literature reviews ( Haase et al., 2014 ). Ecosystem functions and service providing units were included as they are closely related concepts to ecosystem services. Explicit references were identi ed based on the presence or absence of the following terms: ecosystem/ecological ser- vice, ecosystem/ecological function, and green infrastructure. The guide includes the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, (2005 ) classi - cation of ecosystem services (to help identify types of ecosystem ser- vices represented) and provides examples of specic ecosystem services (to help identify any implicit references) ( Table 3 ). Second, we reviewed the municipal o cial plans. The 13 plans vary in length and by date of adoption ( Table 1 ). Eight of the plans have been adopted since 2010, with the most recently approved o cial plan being London s (2016). The remainder of the 13 plans were adopted or approved after 2000, with the exception of Peel Region s o cial plan which was approved in 1996. That said, o cial plans are not static

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway

Table 1 Overview of the ten most populous cities and associated regions in Ontario. Sources: Government of Canada (2017) ; Association of Municipalities of Ontario (2017) .

Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651

Municipality

Municipal Status

Ocial Plan (Year)

Length of Ocial Plan *

Population

% Change (2011 to 2016)

Density (Pop. per sq km;

 

(2016 Census)

2016)

Single and Lower-Tier Municipalities

 

Toronto (TOR) Ottawa (OTT) Mississauga (MISS) Brampton (BRAM) Hamilton (HAM) London (LON) Markham (MAR) Vaughan (VAU) Kitchener (KIT) Windsor (WIN) Regional Municipalities Peel Region (PEEL) York Region (YORK)

Single-tier

2002 (consolidated 2015 * ) 120 pages

2,731,571

4.5

4,334.4

Single-tier

2003 (consolidated 2003)

144 pages

934,243

5.8

334.8

Lower-tier (in Peel Region)

2003 (consolidated 2017)

408 pages

721,599

1.1

2,467.6

Lower-tier (in Peel Region)

2006 (consolidated 2015)

360 pages

593,638

13.3

2,228.7

Single-tier

2011 (consolidated 2015)

186 pages

536,917

3.3

480.6

Single-tier

2016

393 pages

383,822

4.8

913.1

Lower-tier (in York Region)

2014

244 pages

328,966

9.0

1,549.2

Lower-tier (in York Region)

2010 (consolidated 2017)

274 pages

306,233

6.2

1,119.4

Lower-tier (in Waterloo Region Single-tier

2014 (consolidated 2014)

248 pages

233,222

6.4

1,705.2

2012/13

204 pages

217,188

3.0

1,483.8

Upper-tier

1996 (consolidated 2016) 2010 (consolidated 2016)

188 pages

1,381,739

6.5

933.0

Upper-tier

152 pages

1,109,909

7.5

585.9

Waterloo Region (WAT) Upper-tier

2010

147 pages

535,154

5.5

390.9

* Implementation and Schedules have not been included in page counts.

Table 2 Overview of changes in land cover within the census metropolitan areas of the study area cities (1971 2011). Sources: Statistics Canada (2016) .

Census Metropolitan Area (City-region

Built-up Area Growth (1971 to 2011)

Natural and Semi-natural Area Decline (1971 to

with > 100,000 population)

2011)

Square

%

Square

% Change

 

kilometres

Change

kilometres

Toronto CMA * Ottawa-Gatineau CMA Hamilton CMA London CMA

1189

+ 120

749

11

417

+ 191

153

3

233

+ 124

468

21

247

+ 148

737

32

Kitchener-Cambridge-

163

+ 137

284

23

Waterloo CMA

Windsor CMA

145

+ 128

130

30

* Toronto CMA includes Mississauga, Brampton, Markham and Vaughan.

documents, and amendments have been made to them over time. Most of the o cial plans have been consolidated by planning sta to include these amendments and other updates. Generally, ocial plans consist of two major components: de- scriptive text and policy provisions. Descriptive text does not have policy status but serve the important role of elaborating upon the meaning of policies. Most ocial plans descriptive text includes vi- sion/principles and background sections, while some also have a policy objectives section (e.g. Brampton, Windsor and York Region). This study reviewed both the descriptive text and policies, documenting passages relating to environmental features (our unit of analysis), as well as the sections where they were found (e.g. vision/principle/ob- jective, background, and policy). Identifying passage locations helps to understand how the ecosystem services concept has been applied ( Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ). As this case study focuses primarily on land use planning in the urban context, policies pertaining exclusively to rural lands/areas were excluded from the review in recognition of the distinctive planning

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contexts found in urban and rural areas respectively. Also excluded from the review were the policy implementation sections, which de- lineate the requirements of specic municipal planning tools (e.g. zoning by-laws, site plan control, and community improvement plans) because the implementation sections tend to be very technical with ecosystem services or other desired outcomes not included. Third, we conducted an extensive and iterative coding process of all

the documented excerpts for each plan. All excerpts were scrutinized at least two times by author SL to ensure consistency in the coding. The excerpts were assigned coding terms or phrases to account for the types of ecosystem services, functions/processes, and service providing units, where applicable. The coding system was initially based on the de- scriptions presented in the review guide, and subsequently evolved to account for di erences in language across the plans. For example, the following coding terms were used to account for the aesthetic values of nature: aesthetic, character, and image. The code not speci edwas assigned to excerpts where no justi cation was presented for why natural features, functions, or ecosystems should be protected, or when no speci c type of service providing unit was identi ed. Both authors reviewed the nal set of coding terms to ensure a robust list was uti- lized. Fourth, after the coding process was completed, we aggregated coding terms that convey the same meaning (e.g. codes relating to educational, scienti c and research value became educational ; codes relating to waterfront, harbour and shore became waterfront and shoreline ) and counted how frequently explicit and implicit references to ecosystem concepts were made in each o cial plan. Results of the counts for each municipality were then compared.

4. Results

Based on our review of the 13 o cial plans, we found that four municipalities (i.e. Mississauga, Brampton, London, and Vaughan) have explicitly adopted an ecosystems approach to planning. As stated in Brampton s ocial plan, The ecosystem approach to environmental planning has been adopted by a number of municipalities and is con- sistent with the Provincial Policy Statement related to planning in a

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway

Table 3 A review guide for the extraction and documentation of data.

Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651

Criteria

Description of possible entries

1. What speci c ecosystem services are represented and which categories do these services belong to?

2. Which ecosystem functions or processes are identi ed?

3. Is the term "ecosystem services" or ecological services mentioned?

4. Is the term "ecosystem function" or ecological function mentioned?

5. Is the term "green infrastructure" mentioned?

6. Which service providing units are identi ed?

Provisioning services - E.g. Food (agriculture, commercial shing, wild), water (fresh water, energy, transportation), biogeochemicals, genetic resources, bre, fuel, wood, dung and other biological materials, medicinal resources, ornamental resources Regulating services - E.g. climate regulation (local, global), air quality regulation, water puri cation, water regulation, waste treatment, disease regulation, pest regulation, natural hazard regulation, erosion regulation, soil retention, pollination, seed dispersal, noise regulation Cultural services - E.g. social relations, cultural landscape/heritage values, sense of place, aesthetic, inspirational, recreation and eco-tourism, educational and knowledge, spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reection, inspiration, aesthetic values, amenity (views), comfort Supporting services - E.g. hydrological cycling, soil formation, nutrient cycling (carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, sulfur cycle, phosphorous cycle), primary production, photosynthesis, pollination, biodiversity, habitat Not Specied - where no speci c bene t or value is identi ed (e.g. through use of broad terms such as natural environment, natural heritage features, natural heritage areas) Naturally-occurring capacities or processes E.g. habitat, drainage, buer/screening, linkage/connection, groundwater recharge/discharge, hydrologic functions/processes, not specied (where no speci c function or process is identi ed) What is the total number of mentions? (Summary statistic) Yes - refers to any use of the term ecosystem service OR ecological service ; If Yes, what is the total number of mentions? (Summary statistic) No - refers to the absence of these terms Yes - refers to any use of the term ecosystem function OR ecological function ; If Yes, what is the total number of mentions? (Summary statistic) No - refers to the absence of these terms Yes - refers to any use of the term green infrastructure ; If Yes, what is the total number of mentions? (Summary statistic) No - refers to the absence of the term Physical biotic and abiotic elements E.g. Forests, urban agriculture, urban parks, waterways/lakes, cemeteries, urban fabric, allotments, rural surroundings, infrastructure, brownelds, land use mixture, urban-rural gradient, green infrastructure; other; not speci ed

coordinated, integrated and comprehensive manner ( City of Brampton, 2015, 4.6 5 ). Vaughan s o cial plan has de ned the eco- system approach as one that:

considers the biodiversity contribution of Natural Areas as well as the added bene ts of nature for people, such as clean air, clean water and ood protection. This approach to planning not only seeks to sus- tain ecological function for wildlife habitat, but also to maintain critical ecological processes (e.g. groundwater ow) and urban biodiversity as an element of community infrastructure to improve human health and well-being ( City of Vaughan, 2017, p.46 ). Thus, some Ontario municipalities have adopted an ecosystem ap- proach, linking means (functions and processes) with ecosystem ser- vices (ends). Several other municipalities identify alternative ap- proaches to planning, such as Ottawa and Hamilton s systems approach, and Markham s environment- rstapproach. We found that the concept of ecosystem functions is explicitly in- cluded in all ocial plans ( Table 4). Vaughan s ocial plan presents the most number of references to ecosystem functions (75), followed by Brampton s (74) and London s (63). In contrast, only six out of the 13

Table 4 Frequency of terms used explicitly in o cial plans.

Municipality

Ecosystem Functions

Ecosystem Services

Green Infrastructure

TOR

13

0

2

OTT

36

1

1

MISS

36

2

4

BRAM

74

1

8

HAM

15

0

0

LON

63

1

4

MAR

36

0

5

VAU

75

1

0

KIT

36

0

2

WIN

19

0

0

PEEL

43

0

0

YORK

31

3

0

WAT

42

0

0

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o cial plans examined explicitly refer to the term, ecosystem services, although these mentions are rare even within the six plans ( Table 5 ). York Region s o cial plan explicitly mentions ecosystem services most frequently, but with only three mentions. When both terms are used, the relationship between functions and services varies between plans. In some cases, the plans present services as the functions that benet humans, while in other cases functions and services are presented as parallel but dierent components of an ecosystem, or the two terms are used but not discussed together ( Table 5 ). Explicit references to green infrastructure are made by seven municipalities, although rarely. Meanwhile, four of the 13 remaining o cial plans do not explicitly refer to either green infrastructure or ecosystem services, including Hamilton, Windsor, Peel Region, and Waterloo Region. Although lower-tier municipalities are required to conform to the policies of upper-tier municipalities, the alignment between the two levels of plans are not always straightforward. For example, both lower- tier Mississauga and Brampton make explicit references to ecosystem services, while their upper-tier municipality (Peel Region) does not. In York Region, which uses the term ecological services, Vaughan also makes an explicit reference to ecosystem services ( Table 5 ), while Markham s ocial plan does not include any explicit references to ecosystem services but has one of the most number of references to green infrastructure, a closely related term.

4.1. Types of ecosystem functions and processes represented

A variety of ecosystem functions and processes are represented across the municipal o cial plans. The most commonly occurring of these include: habitat functions, corridor/linkage, bu er/screening, groundwater recharge and storage, ltration and drainage, shade, the movement of plants and animals, and evapotranspiration. Passages were assigned the code, not speci ed, where functions are stated very broadly with no speci c functions mentioned. For example, one of Brampton s policies states that The City of Brampton will strive to create communities that have a high quality of development by ii)

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway

Table 5 Explicit references to ecosystem services.

Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651

City/ Region

Quotation (Section and location of the passage within the plan)

OTT All natural features perform an array of natural functions, resulting from natural processes, products or services such as groundwater recharge, provision of wildlife habitat, temperature moderation, natural cleansing and ltration of surface water, and carbon sequestration (carbon sinks)(Strategic Directions Background, p.2-34) MISS The Green System provides many important functions and services and provides the fundamental necessities of life - clean air, land and water. (Direct Growth Background, p.5-3) The City will promote the Green System to public and private stakeholders as being integral to protecting the city's natural heritage features, particularly its role in providing ecological linkages and ecosystem services (Value the Environment Policy, p.6-7) BRAM “…to achieve a sustainable and functioning diverse ecosystem that can provide the ecological goods and services for a healthy community ( Sustainable City Concept Background, p.3-3)

LON

Woodlands in parks will be managed for long-term sustainability and multiple woodland benets, goods, and services . (Forest City Policy , p.93)

VAU

Ecosystem functions provide a wide variety of environmental benets. Speci c functions that provide bene t to people may also be referred to as ecosystem

services .(Environment Background , p.46) YORK Ecological gain means achieving an ecological benet or improvement in the Regional Greenlands System. This could include improvement in ecological services or functional capacities, providing trails and passive recreational amenities, or enhancing a degraded part of the System and providing linkages. (Sustainable Natural Environment Background , p.13) Regional Greenlands ecological services include: climate regulation, soil retention, habitat for ora and fauna, recreation, water management, nutrient cycling, genetic resources, food production ( Sustainable Natural Environment Background , p.15) “…considering the value of ecological services in all infrastructure investment decisions (Servicing Our Population Policy , p.141)

” ( Servicing Our Population – Policy , p.141) Fig. 2. Frequency and breadth of most
” ( Servicing Our Population – Policy , p.141) Fig. 2. Frequency and breadth of most

Fig. 2. Frequency and breadth of most common ecosystem functions represented. N.B. The list of functions is not intended to be exhaustive, rather it is illustrative of the major functions represented in the plans.

Contributing to the existing natural features functions and linkages such as woodlands, valley lands, ponds, creeks and streams (City of Brampton, 2015, 4.2 23), however no specic functions or examples are provided, oering limited guidance on what needs to be protected. Not speci ed functions or processes were by far the most common oc- currence ( Fig. 2 ).

4.2. Types of ecosystem services represented

While explicit references to the term ecosystem services are in- frequent, we identi ed between 80 and 213 occurrences of speci c ecosystem services across the o cial plans ( Fig. 3 ). Amongst the four categories of ecosystem services, cultural services are most frequently mentioned by local ocial plans, followed by supporting services (ex- cept Mississauga) and then by regulating or provisioning services. In contrast, supporting services are the most frequently mentioned by regional o cial plans, followed by cultural services (except Waterloo Region) and then by regulating or provisioning services. Almost all o cial plans mention recreational opportunities (cultural service) most frequently, with the exceptions of Vaughan and the Regions of Peel and Waterloo where references to habitat (supporting service) are most frequent. Variations were found across ocial plans in terms of the second and third most frequently mentioned ecosystem

647

services, suggesting that municipalities have placed varying emphases on speci c ecosystem services in their local contexts. Several ecosystem services received very few mentions. Across local o cial plans, these included pollination (supporting service), timber (provisioning service), food (provisioning service), water supply (pro- visioning service), air and water puri cation (regulating service), ood reduction (regulating service), stormwater management (regulating service), heritage (cultural service), although frequencies varied across local o cial plans. For example, London and Vaughan are the only municipalities to make references to pollination in their o cial plans. Meanwhile for regional ocial plans, few or no references were made to pollination (supporting service), air and water puri cation (regulating service), ood reduction (regulating service), and climate regulation (regulating service). In addition, we found many instances where o cial plans do not provide justi cations for why natural fea- tures, functions, and ecosystems should be protected, which have been assigned the code, not specied. For example, London s o cial plan provides the direction for Strengthen[ing] our urban forest by mon- itoring its condition, planting more, protecting more, and better maintaining trees and woodlands, ( City of London, 2016, p.23 ) without explaining why these actions are needed. Thus this excerpt was assigned the code, not speci ed, for ecosystem services. In all 13 plans, the not specied code was found in approximately equal frequency as

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway

Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Climate Regula on Stormwater Management Air
S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Climate Regula on Stormwater Management Air
S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Climate Regula on Stormwater Management Air
Climate Regula on Stormwater Management Air and Water Puri ca on Flood Reduc on
Climate
Regula on
Stormwater
Management
Air and Water
Puri ca on
Flood
Reduc
on

Provisioning

3

6

7

13

3

22

14

22

9

1

19

15

38

Water Supply

                         

Food

                         

Timber

                         

Not Speci ed

78

117

117

217

81

228

180

186

63

83

99

76

80

Legend

 

> 41

 

31 to 40

 

21 to 30

 

11 to 20

1 to 10

0

Fig. 3. Frequency and breadth of ecosystem services represented.

the total references to speci c ecosystem services. The majority of documented passages are located within the policy sections of the plans (except Ottawa; Table 6 ). Only a small portion of the reference passages are part of the vision, principles and/or objec- tives. Windsor s o cial plan had the highest proportion of passages that were part of its vision, principles and/or objectives sections at 21 percent. Meanwhile, Vaughan, Mississauga and Markham contained the lowest percentage of reference passages as part of their vision, princi- ples and/or objectives (1 to 2 percent). The share of the number of references to ecosystem services in the background sections varied widely across the plans, ranging from 10 percent (Windsor) to 46 percent (Ottawa).

4.3. Types of service providing units identi ed

Many potential service providing units were identi ed across the o cial plans, including: watercourses and water bodies, greenspaces,

Table 6 Percentage of passages from dierent sections of the plans (%).

vegetation and landscaping, urban forests and woodlands, trees, ravines and valleys, wetlands, watersheds, landforms, green roofs and com- munity gardens, soil, and waterfront and shoreline ( Fig. 4). However, the o cial plans most frequently made references to potential service providing units that were not speci ed, including references to nature, natural features, natural areas, habitat, and land. The most frequently speci ed types of service providing units within local ocial plans were greenspaces, watercourses and water bodies, and vegetation and land- scaping. Meanwhile for regional o cial plans, the most frequently re- ferenced types of service providing units were watercourses and water bodies, urban forests and woodlands, and wetlands. Finally, few refer- ences were made to green roofs, gardens, and soils.

5. Discussion

Speci c ecological functions, ecosystem services and service pro- viding units were included in all 13 o cial plans. However, the

 

TOR

OTT

MISS

BRAM

HAM

LON

MAR

VAU

KIT

WIN

PEEL

YORK

WAT

Vision, Principles, Objectives Background Policy

6

7

2

10

3

10

2

1

9

21

11

5

6

28

46

28

35

22

21

30

21

14

10

33

29

18

66

47

70

55

75

69

68

78

77

69

56

65

77

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Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651

S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Fig. 4. Frequency and breadth of
S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Fig. 4. Frequency and breadth of
S.T. Lam, T.M. Conway Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651 Fig. 4. Frequency and breadth of

Fig. 4. Frequency and breadth of most common service providing units represented.

frequency of the terms ecological functions and ecosystem services appearing in the plans varied, with the number of explicit references to ecosystem functions surpassing the use of the term ecosystem services across all o cial plans. The PPS may oer one explanation for this variation, as it explicitly calls for the protection of natural features and their long-term ecological functions. It has also provides a de nition explaining the term, ecological functions. Meanwhile, there is no mention of ecosystem services in the PPS, much less a working de ni- tion. Green infrastructure is de ned, but this was only added to the PPS in 2014, so municipalities may not yet have adjusted their o cial plans to include green infrastructure. While the protection of ecological functions is obviously important, and is one of the components that underlie the provision of ecosystem services, the inclusion of ecosystem services oers additional opportunities to bridge the connection be- tween the natural environment and human well-being. Many ecosystem services are actually referenced in the plans, but by not explicitly using the term ecosystem services an opportunity is missed to highlight the linkage between the environment and humans that implicitly exist within the plans. Given that this anthropocentric rationale can be ef- fective at generating support for environmental protection ( Schröter et al., 2014 ), explicit inclusion of the ecosystem service concept may also lead to better ecosystem protection in general. Even when plans explicitly use both terms the relationship between functions and services was not always clear. The lack of a de nition in the PPS and limited mention within municipal plans support Mascarenhas et al. (2014) and Albert et al.s (2014) arguments that ecosystem services, as a concept, is not always clearly understood by land use planners. Thus, inclusion of a working de nition in the PPS and similar documents guiding local and regional land use planning is needed to promote informed inclusion of ecosystem services in land use plans. Looking at speci ed ecosystem services, Mississauga, London, Brampton, and Vaughan have the highest number of ecosystem services coded and also represent three of the four plans that explicitly adopted an ecosystem approach to planning. They also all explicitly refer to ecosystem services. This indicates that the adoption of the ecosystems services concept may enhance the integration of ecosystem services into

land use planning. Similar ndings have been illustrated by Woodru and BenDor (2016) in their comparison of Damascus and Cincinnati s comprehensive plans. Across all local o cial plans, we found that the majority of refer- ences to ecosystem services were for cultural services. The frequent references to cultural services can be attributed primarily to mentions of recreational opportunities, aesthetic values, active living, and edu- cational opportunities. Our ndings are similar to several previous studies including: Wilkinson et al. s (2013) review of Melbourne and Stockholm; Hansen et al. s (2015) review of Berlin, New York, Salzburg, Seattle and Stockholm; Rall et al. s (2015) review of New York and Berlin; and Cortinovis and Geneletti s (2018) review of Italian cities. The focus on cultural services is notable as a recent literature review by Haase et al. (2014) found that cultural services have been neglected in research assessing ecosystem services in urban areas, while nearly half of the articles they reviewed have focused on regulating services. As suggested by Cortinovis and Geneletti (2018) , the emphasis on cultural services in o cial plans may be due to the long associations between cultural services and urban design and planning. Urban design shapes the physical design and layout of spaces, meanwhile land use planning includes the provision of green spaces and recreational spaces. Cultural services are distinctive from other categories of ecosystem services as they are more directly related to how people use physical spaces. For example, creating recreational opportunities (cultural ser- vice) in the form of parks is closely associated with basic land use planning. Thus, several cultural services have long been part of land use planning, even if they are not identi ed as cultural services (Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ). This may also help explain the large number of references to habitat (supporting service) as it also aligns with the protection of natural greenspaces and predominant focus on the structural aspects of ecosystems. Additionally, we hypothesize that the lack of emphasis on other types of ecosystem services is likely at least partly due to limited eco- logical expertise within many municipal planning departments, and inadequate ecological information in the scienti c literature that is useful to planners. For example, Yli-Pelkonen and Niemelä (2006) found that many planning practitioners lack basic knowledge about

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ecosystem concepts, thus they may be less aware of the regulating and provisioning services that could benet from informed land use plan- ning. The disproportionate focus on cultural services in the Ontario mu- nicipal plans, as compared to recent academic literature, also indicates that there may be little research guiding how to design and protect urban natural features to ensure meaningful contribution to cultural services ( Cortinovis and Geneletti, 2018 ). The indicators that do exist to help assess the provision of cultural ecosystem services are not very useful for urban planners because of a lack of operational clarity ( La Rosa et al., 2016 ). Furthermore, in Kaczorowska et al.s (2016) study of Stockholm, urban planners identi ed a science-policy gap such that even when planners have access to the ecosystem services literature, they found it to be of little use because it was not specic to the context they were working in. This gap between science and policy was not just limited to cultural services. Thus, better explanation of the ecosystem services concept alongside concrete case studies and local pilot projects is needed to support planners in e ectively integrating a variety of ecosystem services into land use policy. Interestingly, cultural services were not the most prominent eco- system service type referenced in regional ocial plans, where sup- porting services, specically habitat for species, actually feature more frequently. This di erence between the local and regional plans may be related to regional municipalities role in overseeing large conservation areas. Provisioning services, namely water supply, also appear to have received greater emphasis in regional plans compared to local o cial plans, which again may be partly due to regional municipalities re- sponsibilities coordinating water and wastewater systems. Our case study also found many instances where ecosystem services were not specied even though most references to ecosystem services were in policy sections rather than broader vision or objective sections. References to ecological functions were also frequently not speci ed. The broad language that is characteristic of land use planning policies may be one reason for the high quantities of not speci ed designa- tions. Since development varies on a case-by-case basis, policies need to be su ciently broad to encompass di erent scenarios. Another poten- tial explanation may be that there is an underlying normative as- sumption that the protection of natural features and areas is inherently good, so few reasons have been provided for why they should be pro- tected. Oftentimes, o cial plans would simply state the need to protect natural areas and features, or the need to ensure no negative impacts without specifying the reasons behind these proposed actions. In con- trast, an ecosystem services-based approach may help communicate bene ts to the community by conveying a rationale for environmental protection that is linked with human well-being. More concurringly, it was often not clear from the plans where the identi ed ecosystem services would be derived from, as the corre- sponding service providing units were frequently not speci ed or given only in a general sense through terms such as natural environment and watercourses. Although there is potential for service providing units to be multi-functional, o ering multiple benets, di erent types of service providing units are likely better at producing some ecosystem services than others. Increased speci cation of service providing unit-ecosystem services relationships would help highlight co-bene ts and better link desired services with the specic types of service providing units that can best provide those services. In Ontario, this may be best im- plemented at the provincial level to ensure that all municipalities are aware of these relationships. While this study has conducted an extensive review of the largest Ontario municipalities ocial plans, a plan content analysis is limited in that it does not enable an evaluation of the impacts and outcomes of the ocial plans ( Woodru and BenDor, 2016 ). In order to determine whether ecosystem-based plans have actually performed better in pro- tecting the environment, additional research needs to be conducted to assess the intent of policies against implementation results. In addition, while it is suggested that o cial plans should be read in their entirety,

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Land Use Policy 77 (2018) 641–651

this document review has examined each sections separately. This means that when the document is read as a whole, meaning may be implied or inferred from a previous section that has not been captured by the individual excerpts that we have identi ed. Nonetheless, we found that many ecosystem services were absent from most of the plans or references were not speci ed, suggesting that basic inclusion of these services is lacking. O cial plans may also make references to other municipal plans such as urban forestry management plans, parks master plans and urban design guidelines, which may include references to ecosystem services that were not considered in this study. That said, given the lack of re- ferences to provisioning and regulating services across the local and regional o cial plans, there is opportunity to further integrate these various types of services into land use planning policies to ensure clarity in the relationship between ecosystem service provisioning and land use. The review guide presented in this study can also be used to help municipalities identify areas to further enhance the inclusion of eco- system services in land use planning policies.

6. Conclusion

Our case study of municipal o cial plans in Ontario has revealed that all four categories of ecosystem services currently do exist in local and regional ocial plans, but that the term ecosystem services is rarely used, missing an opportunity to clearly present the link between en- vironmental protection and human well-being. Moreover, many of the speci c benets, functions and service providing units have not been explicitly articulated, suggesting a lack of clarity regarding prioritized services and the means to ensure that they are protected. Finally, re- ferences are made mostly to the cultural services provided by natural features, while less consideration has been given to other categories of ecosystem services including provisioning, regulating and supporting services (except habitat). Again, more explicit references to these other types of ecosystem services may help strengthen policies calling for increased protection, restoration, and improvement of natural features and areas. The case highlights the importance for clear de nitions of key terms, such as ecosystem function and ecosystem services, in guiding documents to facilitate municipal incorporation of an ecosystem service approach into land use planning. Additionally, accessible, research- based information on the relationship between specic ecosystem ser- vices and service providing units, as well as ecosystem services not traditionally considered by planners, is necessary to ensure the promise of an ecosystem services approach to land use planning is achieved.

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