Community Ecosystem Services Values Support Conservation and Sustainable Landscape Development: Perspectives From Four University of California Campuses

dc.contributor.authorFausey, Kaitlinen
dc.contributor.committeechairRippy, Megan A.en
dc.contributor.committeememberShealy, Earl Wadeen
dc.contributor.committeememberSchenk, Todden
dc.contributor.departmentCivil and Environmental Engineeringen
dc.coverage.countryUnited Statesen
dc.description.abstractUrban landscapes homogenize our world at global scales. This sameness contributes to "extinction of experience", where people feel increasingly disconnected from native ecosystems and the services they provide. Numerous approaches have been proposed for combatting extinction of experience, all of which require community support to be successful. Because comparative assessments are relatively rare, however, it is difficult to say which options are most supported. We addresses this knowledge gap using human subject surveys and multi-criteria decision analysis to evaluate landscape preferences and their implications for three approaches recommended to combat extinction of experience: ecosystem conservation, turf replacement and nature-based solutions. Our study focuses on universities in Southern California, where native ecosystem remnants, nature-based solutions, lawns, and ornamental gardens co-exist, which is necessary to compare community support for transitions among them. Our results suggest that conservation of native ecosystems, particularly sage scrub (top ranked landscape overall), is well supported by campus communities, as are turf replacement programs (lawns ranked lowest overall). Support for nature-based solutions was more intermediate (and variable), which may reflect their relative newness, both on university campuses and in urban spaces more generally. Not all university populations preferred the same landscapes; preferences differed with degree of pro-environmentalism and university status (undergrad, graduate student, staff). Even so, all groups exhibited landscape preferences consistent with at least one approach for combatting extinction of experience. This suggests we have a viable set of tools for increasing native ecosystem exposure on university campuses, and ultimately, in the next generation of urban homeowners.en
dc.description.abstractgeneralUrban areas around the world are more like one another than the natural landscapes they replace. This can make people feel more at home in a city far away than they do in the landscapes that belong in their home state. Changing urban areas to reconnect people with nature requires community support to be successful. Whether this support is available, however, is not well understood. This study focuses on evaluating community support for three actions intended to bring people closer to nature. These include 1) protection of natural landscapes, 2) replacing lawns with natural plants, and 3) using nature instead of pipes and channels to manage the water that runs off paved surfaces during storms in urban areas. The community we focus on is university students and staff because they have access to all the different landscape types involved in the three actions described above. Our approach was to survey people on four campuses in Southern California and rank their landscape preferences to determine if they are likely to support these actions. We found that people tend to be supportive of protecting native landscapes and replacing turf grass with native plants. Support for nature-based alternatives to pipes and channels was more variable. This may be because they are presently uncommon, and people don't know how they feel about them yet. Not everyone on campus preferred the same landscapes, but most people's preferences were consistent with at least one approach for connecting people with nature. This suggests that there may be strong support for changing campus landscapes in ways that bring people closer to nature.en
dc.description.degreeMaster of Scienceen
dc.publisherVirginia Techen
dc.rightsIn Copyrighten
dc.subjectnature-based solutionsen
dc.subjectecosystem servicesen
dc.subjectsustainable developmenten
dc.titleCommunity Ecosystem Services Values Support Conservation and Sustainable Landscape Development: Perspectives From Four University of California Campusesen
dc.typeThesisen Engineeringen Polytechnic Institute and State Universityen of Scienceen
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