Rapid urbanisation in Singapore causes a shift from local provisioning and regulating to cultural ecosystem services use
Ecosystems support and enhance human life through providing ecosystem services. The use of ecosystem services changes over time, as environmental conditions and people's lifestyles change. Urbanisation is an extreme form of environmental change that can be expected to drastically alter the use of ecosystem services. We analysed people's childhood memories to quantify temporal changes in indicators of 11 ecosystem services in Singapore – a country which has rapidly urbanised over the past 70 years. We performed semi-structured interviews to elicit indicators of ecosystem service use from memories of childhood lifestyles and activities, comparing two groups of respondents; those born before 1960, and those born between 1989 and 1999. The two respondent groups recalled significantly different uses of ecosystem services, with a higher proportion of the pre-1960 respondents benefitting from locally-produced provisioning and regulating services, and a higher proportion of 1989–1999 respondents using most cultural services. This study thus demonstrates that urbanisation can decrease people's reliance on local ecosystems to provide raw materials, while leading to greater appreciation of cultural benefits. Management of ecosystem services in the present must consider the possibility that supply and demand of future ecosystem services may change in potentially unpredictable ways.
Richards, DR; Law, A; Tan, CSY; Shaikh, SFEA; Carrasco, LR; Jaung, W; Oh, RRY
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