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Depietri & Orenstein (2018) Tradeoffs between regulating and cultural services as a sources of fire risk in Haifa

Bibliographic details:

Depietri, Y., & Orenstein, D. E. (2018). Tradeoffs between regulating and cultural services as a sources of fire risk in Haifa. In Conference Proceedings–Long Paper (Barcelona).



Urban areas are increasingly at risk of several natural hazards. In the Mediterranean area, the risk of forest fires at the wildland-urban interface are generating increasing losses.

However, green areas in and around the city have traditionally been considered as a source of fresh air, recreational, as well as for educational and aesthetic purposes. Tradeoffs can then arise between the desire to preserve nature around cities for cultural ecosystem services and the need to manage the forest to reduce the risk of fires. Most of the literature on ecosystem services’ tradeoffs has concentrates on provisioning versus cultural and regulating services. The potential tradeoffs arising from managing nature for recreational, spiritual, mental benefits and for hazard regulating functions in urban and peri-urban areas have rarely been explored. In this paper we assess cultural services and fires risk in the peri-urban forest of the city of Haifa (Israel) using participatory GIS mapping. We interviewed two groups regarding the spatial extent of these services and the management strategies to reduce risk: users of the green areas of Haifa and forest fire experts. We identified tradeoffs between cultural and regulating services for fire control in the green areas of the city. Green space users promoted the idea of a pristine nature and its conservation, mainly for recreational purposes, while experts suggested that improving fire regulating services would require intensive forest management with changes in the  landscape such as the removal of pine trees and the creation of buffers around the urban core. We conclude that the tradeoffs between cultural and regulating services can generate sources of risk and must be reconciled when considering addressing it.