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Table 2 Ecosystem services and disservices associated with urban vegetation within the study area

From: A fine-scale assessment of the ecosystem service-disservice dichotomy in the context of urban ecosystems affected by alien plant invasions

Ecosystem service category Ecosystem services Example Reference
Cultural Recreation Picnicking under tall shade-providing trees (e.g. Pinus pinea) Potgieter et al. (2019b)
Physical, intellectual and spiritual interactions with nature, including aesthetic values, inspiration and cognitive development, and spiritual enrichment Well managed urban green spaces with abundant vegetation Bastian et al. (2012); Dobbs et al. (2011)
Visual amenity, ornamental purposes and landscape re-greening Private residential gardens Dickie et al. (2014); Carruthers et al. (2011); Kull et al. (2011); Le Maitre et al. (2011); Shackleton et al. (2016)
Provision of a ‘sense of place’   Dickie et al. (2014)
Heritage Pinus pinea trees planted in the seventeenth century by the early settlers, have significant heritage value Gaertner et al. (2016)
Increased property values   Soares et al. (2011)
Provisioning Firewood Trees such as Acacia sp., Eucalyptus sp. or Pinus sp. can be used for firewood Dickie et al. (2014)
Construction material Trees such as Eucalyptus sp. or Pinus sp. can be used for poles Dickie et al. (2014)
Medicinal value Essential oils provided by Eucalyptus sp.  
Fodder Eucalyptus camaldulensis used as fodder Bernholt et al. (2009)
Food Eucalyptus sp. (especially E. cladocalyx) are important for honey production  
Regulating Shade Shade from tall trees with wide canopy such as Pinus pinea Potgieter et al. (2019b);
Climate regulation Cooling effects (by transpiration) of street trees such as Platanus × acerifolia Jim and Chen (2009)
Air quality Reduced emissions of air pollutants by Platanus × acerifolia McPherson (2003)
Flood attenuation Wetlands  
Barrier Pinus sp. used as a barrier plant  
Carbon sequestration Trees such as Platanus × acerifolia sequester carbon Potgieter et al. (2017)
Nitrogen fixation Acacia sp. fix nitrogen, enriching the soil Qiu (2015); Dickie et al. (2014); van Wilgen and Richardson (2014); de Wit et al. (2001)
Erosion control Erosion control by trees such Ailanthus altissima Sladonja et al. (2015); Kowarik and Säumel (2007)
Energy saving Changes in building energy use from shade trees such as Platanus × acerifolia McPherson (2003)
Stormwater runoff mitigation   
Supporting Habitat provision Tall alien trees such as eucalypts and pines provide nesting sites for birds with which many urban dwellers can enjoy encounters. McPherson et al. (2011)
Nutrient cycling   
Pollination Robinia pseudoacacia in urban areas provides resources for honey producing bees Hausman et al. (2015)
Primary production   
Soil formation   
Cultural and Aesthetic Loss of sense of place and aesthetic valuesa Loss of sense of place and aesthetic values due to the presence of invasive alien plant species de Wit et al. (2001); Le Maitre et al. (2011)
Unattractive species or landscapes Ugly’ landscapes dominated by Acacia species. Neglected vacant lots overgrown with ‘weedy’ vegetation Carruthers et al. (2011)
Obscuring good views Tall trees such as Pinus sp. can block good views Roy et al. (2012)
Economic Problem Increased maintenance costs Grooming of street trees or sweeping up of leaf litter in streets Roy et al. (2012)
Cost of irrigation Alien plants in gardens require supplementary irrigation during the dry season Roy et al. (2012)
Reduced property valuea Invasive plants blocking good views can reduce property prices Roy et al. (2012)
Environmental Problem Generating green waste Increased green waste from gardens Roy et al. (2012)
Increased water consumption Increased water consumption by alien and invasive trees such as Acacia sp. and Eucalyptus sp. Carruthers et al. (2011); Kull et al. (2011); Le Maitre et al. (2002, 2011); van Wilgen and Richardson (2014)
Reduced soil qualitya Modification of soil quality and promotion of soil erosion de Wit et al. (2001); Shackleton et al. (2016)
Disruption of soil-nutrient cycling, carbon and nitrogen fixationa Invasive alien trees and shrubs such as Acacia sp. fix nitrogen Yelenik et al. (2004); Gaertner et al. (2014); Qiu (2015)
Displacement of native plant species / Reduced species richnessa Invasive alien trees and shrubs spreading into natural areas can disrupt native fynbos plant species and continued spread may reduce native species richness Carruthers et al. (2011); Dickie et al. (2014); Kull et al. (2011); Le Maitre et al. (2011); Shackleton et al. (2016); van Wilgen and Richardson (2014); Vicente et al. (2013)
Health Reduced air qualitya Emissions of Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds reducing air quality Potgieter et al. (2017)
Increasing attack by associated insects and other animals Areas with dense vegetation can harbour potentially dangerous animals such as venomous snakes Roy et al. (2012)
Pollen allergies Pollen allergy and/or dermatitis caused by A. altissima, Acacia dealbata, Cortaderia selloana, and Schinus terebinthifolius Pyšek and Richardson (2010)
Poisoning Cardiac problems and poisoning from Echium plantagineum Pyšek and Richardson (2010)
Leisure and Recreation Reduced recreationa Presence of invasive species considered unpleasant for recreation Vaz et al. (2017)
Physical injury Physical injury through contact with plant spines or thorns Pyšek and Richardson (2010); Shackleton et al. (2016)
Material Infrastructural damage Roots of Ailanthus altissima damaging paved surfaces and boundary walls Celesti-Grapow and Blasi (2004); Potgieter et al. (2019b)
Safety and Security Fears of insects and other animals Areas with dense vegetation can be invoke fear due to the possible presence of distasteful animals such as insects or snakes Vaz et al. (2017)
Increased crime risk Criminal activity in dense vegetation close to informal settlement Potgieter et al. (2019a)
Safety and Security / Environmental Problem Increased fire risk (safety risk to infrastructure, but also impacting on native plants due to increased frequency and intensity of fires) Increased fire risk due to tree invasions along the urban edge Gaertner et al. (2014); Le Maitre et al. (2011); van Wilgen and Richardson (2014); Potgieter et al. (2018)
Safety and Security / Material Safety hazard Tall trees blown over in strong winds Potgieter et al. (2019b)
  1. aEcosystem disservices resulting from a reduction in ecosystem services