Assessing urban ecosystem services provided by green infrastructure: Golf courses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area

Eric V. Lonsdorf, Christopher W Nootenboom, Ben Janke, Brian P Horgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


With more than half the world's population living in urban areas, most of people's potential to receive ecosystem service benefits occurs in cities. However a straightforward, replicable approach to quantifying multiple urban ecosystem services has yet to emerge, so urban planning decisions often overlook the value nature could provide people. Urbanization is likely to increase development pressure on many forms of green spaces across cities, particularly for golf courses that represent a substantial part of urban areas in the United States. Here, we developed a replicable process to assess how the supply of three urban ecosystem services (urban cooling, stormwater nutrient retention, and pollinator abundance) change with alternative land uses, using golf course development in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area in Minnesota, USA as a case study. We developed a replicable framework to assess changes in urban ecosystem services and found that green infrastructure provided by golf courses provide an intermediate amount of services compared to five other land use options. Combining land cover with land use zoning data to parameterize existing ecosystem service models for urban use is an important advancement. Our study describes how to combine land use with land cover and provides insights for urban planners interested in exploring public consequences of land cover and land use changes in cities. The approach we've developed can be applied to land use change scenarios in other cities with comparable data and help integrate the value of nature into urban planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104022
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper and its underlying research were made possible by funding from the US Golf Association. We would like to thank Kristine Moncada, Mary Williams, Marie Donahue, Parker Anderson, Mike Kenna, Kimberly Erusha, Anne Guerry, Roy Remme, Perrine Hamel and Cole Thompson for their friendly reviews and help with other aspects of the project. We also thank one anonymous reviewer for comments that helped improve the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


  • Ecosystem services
  • Golf courses
  • Nutrient retention
  • Pollination
  • Urban heat island
  • Urban planning


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