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Title: Understanding the conservation potential of urban greenspaces in Sub-Saharan Africa
Author: Guenat, Solène
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 9588
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2019
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With more than half of the world population living in cities, land-use changes associated with urban growth are one of the main threats to biodiversity. However, it is generally accepted that urban greenspaces can mitigate this threat by providing habitat for a wide variety of species as well as improving urban liveability through ecosystem services ranging from recreation to food or shade provision. In Africa, cities are expanding at the fastest rates globally and increasingly encroach on biodiversity hotspots. Yet we know little about their potential for maintaining biodiverse greenspaces, their ability to provide ecosystem services, the social context shaping their governance or the preferences people hold for them. This thesis begins to fill those gaps by assessing how ecosystem services are maintained, governed and valued in Sunyani and Techiman, two fast-growing cities in Ghana. Small African cities contain greenspaces that can maintain pollinator populations of similar abundances to those found in the surrounding landscapes, albeit with variations linked to greenspace management and shifts in community structure. However, the social interactions at play in the urban landscape threaten such greenspaces. Social network analysis revealed that the stakeholders with the greatest influence on their retention have mixed attitudes towards them, contrasting with the fact that stakeholders generally value the ecosystem services provided by greenspaces. Nevertheless, perceptions of ecosystem services are diverse, highlighting the need to identify particular services around which conservation efforts and messaging can build consensus across society, while simultaneously targeting particular messages to certain influential groups. Doing so may help promote urban greenspace conservation across residents, businesses, civil society and public authorities. By taking an inter-disciplinary approach to urban ecosystem services, this thesis provides a holistic understanding of the potential and challenges facing urban greenspace conservation in the rarely studied context of small urban areas of Sub-Saharan African.
Supervisor: Dallimer, Martin ; Kunin, William E. ; Dougill, Andrew J. Sponsor: NERC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available