Assessment of Ecosystem Services and Optimization of Green Infrastructure Network in Urban-rural Gradients in China and Belgium

Green Infrastructure (GI) provides a range of ecosystem services such as carbon storage, runoff regulation, flood reduction, air purification, cooling, humidification, noise reduction and cultural services that can make both a substantial contribution towards ecosystem and human wellbeing. Such natural interventions are increasingly being recognized as a desirable 'win-win' approach to dealing with ecosystem services, as they also help to deliver multiple other social, economic and environmental benefits. Urbanization is no longer just a typical example of urban development, but also affects the processes of rural areas. Urban-rural gradient can be a good representation of the spatial and temporal process of urbanization. Finding the changes in value of ecosystem services which GI provides along a rural-urban gradient is important for us to find a way to coordinate the relationship between urban development and ecosystem development. Hence, not only the ecosystem services which GI provided but also the distribution and structural role of GI should be a focus of future GI planning. The project focuses on green infrastructure and will analyze the synergies and tradeoffs between different ecosystem services and carry out systematic research and planning, taking spatial pattern analysis and ecosystem services ability into account. The methodology presented here demonstrates the green infrastructure network building based on the synergies and tradeoffs among different ecosystem services and hierarchical planning approach. This research project targets the Green Infrastructure network as a means to respond to ecosystem services.

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