Prioritizing the provision of urban ecosystem services in deprived areas, a question of environmental justice

Ambio. 2021 May;50(5):1035-1046. doi: 10.1007/s13280-020-01438-1. Epub 2020 Nov 26.


The distribution of urban ecosystem services (UES) is often uneven across socioeconomic groups, leading to environmental justice issues. Understanding the distribution of UES across a landscape can help managers ensure an equitable distribution of services. While many past studies have focused on the distribution of green spaces in relation to socioeconomic variables, this research analyzes the distribution of UES provided by these green spaces. This research quantified air pollution removal, atmospheric carbon reduction, and surface runoff mitigation provided by urban trees in Strasbourg city (France). The provision of these three UES was studied at the census block scale by creating an index of UES delivery, which was contrasted with a constructed social deprivation index. Our results show that there is no significant association between the delivery of UES and social deprivation. Some deprived populations benefit from high UES delivery. Results also suggest that mapping associations between UES delivery and social deprivation should be integrated with future development plans to enhance the equitable distribution of UES. This study provides insights into the French context where studies about the distribution of UES at a small-area level remain lacking.

Keywords: Deprivation; Environmental justice; Urban ecosystem services; Urban trees.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution*
  • Cities
  • Ecosystem*
  • France
  • Trees