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Wednesday, April 11 • 2:30pm - 2:45pm
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Urban Growth in the Western United States and Implications for Human Well-being

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AUTHORS: Jenna Narducci*, Boise State University; Cristina Quintas Soriano, Boise State University; Dainee Gibson, Idaho State University; Jodi Brandt, Boise State University

ABSTRACT: Urbanization poses complex challenges for balancing sustainable environmental management with human well-being. Many areas of the western US are experiencing rapid urbanization as people move to the region for a high quality of life. However, urbanization has major impacts on ecosystem services (ES), and therefore human well-being, making it important for decision-makers to understand the consequences and trade-offs that occur with urbanization. Given recent urbanization, the Treasure Valley, Idaho is a useful case study to explore a) what ES people value, and b) how those ES may change with future urbanization. We conducted a survey of over 400 people to gauge people’s perceived importance of ES and perceived impacts to ES by urbanization. We measured whether perceptions differ between social groups, particularly between the general public and decision-makers. We then applied urban growth projections to current land use-land cover (LULC), identifying trade-offs between groups based on people’s preferences for ES and associated LULC. For example, we found significant differences in preferences for ES between decision-makers and the general public, as well as differences in preferences based on political affiliation, residency length, and gender. Experts are three times more likely to choose regulating ES (e.g. water quality) as most important over all other ES. Experts and the general public similarly perceive urban areas as negatively affecting regulating ES — however, only 1% of experts perceive negative impacts to cultural ES (e.g. cultural heritage) by urban areas as opposed to over 25% of the general public. These observed differences indicate a need to elicit social values in order to appropriately incorporate diverse perspectives in planning to ensure policy resilience. Our social survey approach can be applied in other study areas to illuminate ES-human relationships across a variety of contexts where urbanization is the dominant land use change dynamic.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 2:30pm - 2:45pm CDT
LaSalle 2 (7th Floor)