Improving the provision of ecosystem services from urban forest by integrating the species’ potential environmental functions in tree selecting process

  • Vahid Amini ParsaEmail author
  • Esmail Salehi
  • Ahmadreza Yavari
Original Paper


Due to the fact that urban environments and population demands are evolving rapidly and species selection is inevitable, it is possible to gain substantial environmental benefit by implementing more effective urban tree planting programs, especially with the aim of increasing the upcoming provision of multiple ecosystem services (ES) through proper species selection. In this paper, we used a new approach to improve the potential of urban trees in optimizing more desirable environmental benefits. This was done by selecting the most appropriate tree species among a vast range of species based on their potential environmental function (both services and disservices) in Tabriz city, Iran. Also, three main planting scenarios (divided to six sub-scenarios) were developed so as to understand the long-term effectiveness of introducing the selected tree species in improving the environmental benefits (both urban forest structure and ES) in comparison with planting the existing tree species. The results indicate that regardless of the quantity of planting, the benefits of introducing the selected trees will be more than planting the existing species. Moreover, as the amount of the annual planting of the recommended species increases, so does the improvement in the projected tree characteristics and ES. This approach creates more opportunities which enable urban forest managers and policymakers to understand the importance of selecting the proper urban tree species when looking for a nature-based solution to promote the wellbeing of the urban population, to create more livable and ecologically sustainable cities and to mitigate urban environmental problems.

Article highlights

  • Setting out a new approach to select the proper urban tree species by integrating the species potential environmental functions (ecosystem services and disservices)

  • We analyzed the effectiveness of introducing the recommend species on the upcoming amount of multiple ES and disservices and also tree traits through scenario developing

  • Introducing tree species with high potential in generating ES into urban context can lead to significant improvement both in structural traits of urban tree and environmental benefits.

  • As the relative frequency of the recommended species increase, the provision of ES and also structural characteristics of trees improve.

  • Our approach creates opportunities for considering the importance of planting appropriate species in urban green infrastructure policymaking and also integrate ES concept in urban planning strategies.


Urban forestry Ecosystem services approach Environmental benefits Disservices Scenario planning Evaluation 



We gratefully thank Dr. David Nowak from USDA Forest Service for his invaluable support and advice, and the i-Tree tools team, especially Dr. Jason Henning for his technical assistance. We further gratefully give our warmest regards to Mr. Babak Chalabiani for his valuable help during the field survey. We also thank all the scientific colleagues for completing the questionnaire.


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Copyright information

© International Consortium of Landscape and Ecological Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environment, College of EngineeringUniversity of TehranTehranIran

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