Understanding the Relationship Between Urban Best Management Practices and Ecosystem Services

Principal Investigator


Kelsey McDonough
Dr. Stacy Hutchinson
Dr. Trisha Moore


August 2014 - December 2015


Increasing attentiveness to climate change and the dependence of human life on natural resources has spurred awareness about the detrimental impacts of human activity on the environment. Ecosystem services, or the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems, have changed more in the past 50 years than in any other comparable period in human history (Carpenter et al., 2009). The dilemma of managing the trade-off between immediate human needs and maintaining the ability of the Earth to provide ecosystem services is considered to be one of the largest challenges of this century (Foley et al., 2005). The ecosystem service concept aims to maximize the provision of services across an entire ecosystem to achieve overall ecosystem health through land management, policy, and economic decisions. The intent of this research was to improve such decisions by increasing the understanding about the relationship between urban best management practices and freshwater provision, erosion regulation, and flood regulation ecosystem services. Fifty-six land management scenarios with varying densities of BMP application were simulated using the Stormwater Management Model (SWMM). The ecosystem services resulting from these land management scenarios were quantified using indices developed by Logsdon and Chaubey (2013). Results demonstrate that the application of bioretention cells improve both freshwater provision and erosion regulation services immediately downstream from the implementation site, and an increase in erosion regulation services was observed at the greater watershed scale. There was no change in the provision of freshwater, erosion regulation, or flood regulation services observed by the application of green roofs or rain barrels at either scale of analysis.


There are no discussions for this research project.