Conference paper Open Access
Ecosystem services are the direct and indirect contributions that ecosystems make to human well-being. In urban areas, these include improved local climate regulation, flood control, access to food, availability of recreational spaces, and reduced health problems associated with urban living such as through exposure to excess noise and air pollution. This work presents a case-study that spatially assesses the capacity of ecosystems to provide ecosystem services in Malta, and the actual use (flow) of these services by the Maltese population, for four key ecosystem services. The ecosystem services investigated include food production and beekeeping, biodiversity conservation and aesthetic value of landscapes, and air quality improvement. The study utilises different available datasets, statistical models and indicators based on direct measurements. Results obtained here indicate an important contribution of rural landscapes and green urban areas to human well-being, supporting the notion that planning that develops and maintains green infrastructure can solve urban challenges and contributes significantly to the creation of future liveable cities that support biodiversity and human well-being.