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History and Local Management of a Biodiversity-Rich, Urban Cultural Landscape

Stephan Barthel, Stockholm University
Johan Colding, Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics
Thomas Elmqvist, Stockholm University
Carl Folke, Stockholm University


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Urban green spaces provide socially valuable ecosystem services. Through an historical analysis of the development of the National Urban Park (NUP) of Stockholm, we illustrate how the co-evolutionary process of humans and nature has resulted in the high level of biological diversity and associated recreational services found in the park. The ecological values of the area are generated in the cultural landscape. External pressures resulting in urban sprawl in the Stockholm metropolitan region increasingly challenge the capacity of the NUP to continue to generate valuable ecosystem services. Setting aside protected areas, without accounting for the role of human stewardship of the cultural landscape, will most likely fail. In a social inventory of the area, we identify 69 local user and interest groups currently involved in the NUP area. Of these, 25 are local stewardship associations that have a direct role in managing habitats within the park that sustain such services as recreational landscapes, seed dispersal, and pollination. We propose that incentives should be created to widen the current biodiversity management paradigm, and actively engage local stewardship associations in adaptive co-management processes of the park and surrounding green spaces.

Key words

ecosystem services; local management; Nationalstadsparken; resilience; social-ecological system; Stockholm Urban Park; urban ecology

Copyright © 2005 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087