Land Use Change and Urban Ecosystem Services: A Case Study of Urban Wetlands in a Rapidly Sprawling City in the Highlands of Chiapas, Mexico

  •  Vera Camacho-Valdez    
  •  Eva M. Tello-Alcaide    
  •  Allen Wootton    
  •  Emmanuel Valencia-Barrera    


Urban wetlands provide a wide range of ecosystem services that are important for human-well-being. Despite their social and environmental importance, the degradation of urban wetlands continues mainly due to land use changes induced by rapid urbanization. Estimating the impact of these changes on ecosystem services is crucial to support the decision-making process of city planners at different levels. In this study, the spatial extents of the urban wetlands of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico were determined for the years 2001 and 2018 in order to relate the spatial changes between these years with the provision and economic value of ecosystem services. Google Earth and SPOT imagery were used to evaluate land use/land cover changes while international coefficients were used to assess the value of the ecosystem services by category. Findings reveal a 7.3% decrease in the urban wetland area and a 12.5% increase of urban areas during the study period. The ecosystem service valuation shows that the total value flow decreased around $5 million (2007 USD) during the 17-year period, mainly due to decreases in the potential for regulating and cultural services. The use of freely available land use/land cover data together with global ecosystem service estimates reduce the cost of ground data collection and provides quick and reliable information that could help decision makers with land use planning in the context of data-scarce regions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4725
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4733
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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