Ecosystem services and disservices for a vulnerable population

Findings from urban waterways and wetlands in an American desert city

Monica Palta, Margaret V. du Bray, Rhian Stotts, Amanda Wolf, Amber Wutich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Vulnerable human populations are exposed to social and biophysical stressors, but have limited capacity to mitigate them, and thus may access ecosystem services in unconventional ways. As a result of this access, they may also experience disservices (i.e., functions of ecosystems harmful to human wellbeing) in ways that are not well understood. We use a mixed-method socio-ecological approach to examine how persons experiencing homelessness in Phoenix, Arizona, access ecosystem services and encounter disservices in urban waterways. We find that urban waterways provide users with drinking and bathing water, and cooler, shaded areas, but potentially expose them to pathogens and legal persecution. The wetlands provide cultural services by affording a sense of place and safety; however, these locations can also be associated with restrictive ordinances and aggressive law enforcement. This study explores the role of ecosystem services and disservices in bridging the gap between biophysical and social vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-478
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Ecology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Fingerprint

shipping lane
Wetlands
Vulnerable Populations
wetland
desert
ecosystem service
Ecosystem
bathing water
homelessness
sense of place
ecological approach
law enforcement
Homeless Persons
Law Enforcement
vulnerability
pathogen
drinking water
Drinking Water
safety
ecosystem

Keywords

  • Arizona
  • Ecosystemservices and disservices
  • Phoenix
  • Urban marginality
  • Urban waterways
  • USA
  • Vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Ecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Ecosystem services and disservices for a vulnerable population : Findings from urban waterways and wetlands in an American desert city. / Palta, Monica; du Bray, Margaret V.; Stotts, Rhian; Wolf, Amanda; Wutich, Amber.

In: Human Ecology, Vol. 44, No. 4, 2016, p. 463-478.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Palta, Monica ; du Bray, Margaret V. ; Stotts, Rhian ; Wolf, Amanda ; Wutich, Amber. / Ecosystem services and disservices for a vulnerable population : Findings from urban waterways and wetlands in an American desert city. In: Human Ecology. 2016 ; Vol. 44, No. 4. pp. 463-478.
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