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Nature conservation for what?: Analyses of urban and rural nature reserves in southern Sweden 1909-2006
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2013 (English)In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, E-ISSN 1872-6062, Vol. 117, 66-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To effectively integrate nature conservation in sustainable landscape management, it isessential to deepen the understanding of why, what, where and for whom nature isprotected. This is especially important for nature conservation in human dominatedlandscapes such as cities, where the distance between built up and protected areas is inconstant decline due to urbanisation worldwide. In this study we use historical andcurrent data from Sweden to examine how urban compared to rural nature conservationhave been using formal nature reserve objectives. The focal nature conservationobjectives in our study area were preservation of biodiversity, restoration ofenvironments and outdoor recreation, as well as subdivision of those. The use of theseobjectives were analysed for 1869 nature reserves in relation to degree of urbanisation.We found that nature reserves in more urbanised landscapes were based on a highernumber of objectives. The urban reserves also had a different composition of objectives,where the objectives outdoor recreation and biodiversity preservation were morecommon in urban than in rural reserves. During the last decades we detected a shift inuse of objectives in urban areas, going from biodiversity preservation to a strongerfocus on outdoor recreation. National and global trends in the nature conservationdebate could also be seen as reflected in the use of objectives. To ensure its adaptivecapacity, we stress that urban nature conservation needs a more proactive strategy,where potential future social as well as ecological values must be embraced and notonly existing ones.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 117, 66-80 p.
Keyword [en]
protected areas, urban landscapes, nature conservation, objectives, biodiversity, outdoor recreation, Sweden
National Category
Environmental Sciences Ecology
Research subject
Systems Ecology; Natural Resources Management; Conservation Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-46153DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.04.010ISI: 000322299500007OAI: diva2:371697
Available from: 2010-11-22 Created: 2010-11-22 Last updated: 2014-10-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Urban shades of green: Current patterns and future prospects of nature conservation in urban landscapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Urban shades of green: Current patterns and future prospects of nature conservation in urban landscapes
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Urban nature provides local ecosystem services such as absorption of air pollutants, reduction of noise, and provision of places for recreation, and is therefore crucial to urban sustainable development. Nature conservation in cities is also part of the global effort to halt biodiversity decline. Urban landscapes, however, display     distinguishing social and ecological characteristics and therefore the implementation of nature conservation frameworks into cities, requires reconsideration of what nature to preserve, for whom and where. The aim of this thesis was to examine the current urban nature conservation with special focus on formally protected areas, and discuss their future role in the urban landscape. A social-ecological systems approach was used as framework and both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied. The studies were performed at local to regional scales in the southern part of Sweden. Four key questions were addressed: i) What are the characteristics of nature conservation in urban landscapes? ii) How does establishment of nature conservation areas affect the surrounding urban landscape? iii) In what ways are spatial and temporal scales recognized in practical management of nature conservation areas? and iv) How can the dichotomy of built up and nature conservation areas be overcome in urban planning? Nature reserves in urban, compared to rural landscapes were in general fewer, but larger and included a higher diversity of land covers. They were also based on a higher number and different kinds of objectives than rural nature reserves. Urbanisation adjacent to nature reserves followed the general urbanisation patterns in the cities and no additional increase in urban settlements could be detected. In general, there was a lack of social and ecological linkages between the nature conservation areas and the urban landscape and practical management showed a limited recognition of cross-scale interactions and meso-scales. Such conceptual and physical isolation risks decreasing the public support for nature conservation, cause biodiversity decline, and hence impact the generation of ecosystem services. A major future challenge is therefore to transform current conservation strategies to become a tool where urban nature is perceived, planned and managed as valuable and integrated parts of the city. To enable social-ecological synergies, future urban planning should address proactive approaches together with key components like active enhancement of multifunctional landscapes, cross-scale strategies and border zone management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 2011. 59 p.
urbanisation, nature conservation, urban planning, urban systems, nature reserves, Sweden
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-46150 (URN)978-91-7447-194-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-02-04, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Submitted. Paper 5: Manuscript.Available from: 2011-01-13 Created: 2010-11-22 Last updated: 2011-01-14Bibliographically approved

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Borgström, SaraLindborg, ReginaElmqvist, Thomas
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Stockholm Resilience CentreDepartment of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
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