Supporting urban ecosystem services across terrestrial, marine and freshwater realms

Publication Name

Science of the Total Environment


The terrestrial, freshwater and marine realms all provide essential ecosystem services in urban environments. However, the services provided by each realm are often considered independently, which ignores the synergies between them and risks underestimating the benefits derived collectively. Greater research collaboration across these realms, and an integrated approach to management decisions can help to support urban developments and restoration projects in maintaining or enhancing ecosystem services. The aim of this paper is to highlight the synergies and trade-offs among ecosystem services provided by each realm and to offer suggestions on how to improve current practice. We use case studies to illustrate the flow of services across realms. In our call to better integrate research and management across realms, we present a framework that provides a 6-step process for conducting collaborative research and management with an Australian perspective. Our framework considers unifying language, sharing, and understanding of desired outcomes, conducting cost-benefit analyses to minimise trade-offs, using multiple modes of communication for stakeholders, and applying research outcomes to inform regulation. It can be applied to improve collaboration among researchers, managers and planners from all realms, leading to strategic allocation of resources, increased protection of urban natural resources and improved environmental regulation with broad public support.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Article Number


Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)