South Africa: values of trees in urban landscapes in two towns in northern South Africa

Sheona Shackleton; Abby Chinyimba; Paul Hebinck; Charlie Shackleton &Humphrey Kaoma (2015). Multiple benefits and values of trees in urban landscapes in two towns in northern South Africa. Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 136, April 2015, Pages 76–86

Cities and towns can be conceptualised as complex social-ecological systems or landscapes that are composed of different spatial elements. Trees in urban landscapes provide a variety of tangible and intangible benefits (ecosystem services) that may be valued differently across diverse households and individuals. Here, we consider how the benefits and values of trees to urban residents vary across public and private spaces in three low income neighbourhoods in two medium-sized towns in northern South Africa. We find that the most asset poor residents in informal settlements derive significant benefits from the provisioning services offered by trees in natural green spaces on the ‘urban periphery’; in particular they value supplies of wood for energy, whilst also recognising the importance of regulating services such as shade. Trees in such spaces help these immigrants cope with a lack of infrastructure, services and disposable income after their move to the city. In new, low-cost housing neighbourhoods, the importance of trees in providing shade and shelter in gardens is emphasised due to the hot and dusty nature of these settlements, while residents in older township neighbourhoods make more mention of the aesthetic value of trees in private spaces as well as the fruits they provide. In all neighbourhoods, attitudes towards trees in public spaces were mixed because of their perceived association with crime, although low income households did make extensive use of tree products from natural areas. The relevance of the results for urban planning and greening in low income areas is discussed

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Photo: Brendon Bosworth.

Details

Publication Type Journal Article
Publisher Landscape and Urban Planning
Year 2015
Author(s) Sheona Shackleton; Abby Chinyimba; Paul Hebinck; Charlie Shackleton &Humphrey Kaoma
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One Response to “South Africa: values of trees in urban landscapes in two towns in northern South Africa”

  1. South Africa: values of trees in urban landscap...

    […] Trees in urban landscapes provide a variety of tangible and intangible benefits (ecosystem services) that may be valued differently across diverse households and individuals. Here, we consider how the benefits and values of trees to urban residents vary across public and private spaces in three low income neighbourhoods in two medium-sized towns in northern South Africa.  […]

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