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Urban Areas and Watershed Services: Strategies for Ecosystem Management and Urban Risk Reduction

  • Yaella Depietri

    (United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB))

  • Lorenzo Guadagno

    (International Organization for Migration (IOM))

  • Margaretha Breil

    (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC))

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    Under scenarios of increasing unplanned urban expansion, environmental degradation and hazard exposure, the vulnerability of urban populations needs to be tackled through novel, integrated solutions. Basing our analysis on the concept of ecosystem services, we suggest that urban areas would benefit from a shift in perspective recognizing the connections between urban areas and watersheds. By integrating an ecosystem approach into the management of water-related services, urban management policies could take a first step towards fostering an improvement of the health of upstream and downstream areas of the watershed, activating environmentally sound practices and economic strategies which aim at guaranteeing the sustainable and cost effective supply of services. From our analysis it results that, through the recognition of the primary role played by watershed ecosystems, cities can benefit from an enlarged set of policies, which can help strengthen the supply of essential environmental services, while reducing the vulnerability of its population and contributing to the maintenance of healthy ecosystems.

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    Article provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its journal Review of Environment, Energy and Economics.

    Volume (Year): (2014)
    Issue (Month): (March)

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    Handle: RePEc:fem:femre3:2014.03-04
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