Monetary value of urban green space as an ecosystem service provider: A case study of urban runoff management in Finland

Sveta Silvennoinen, Maija Kaarina Taka, Vesa Johannes Yli-Pelkonen, Harri Koivusalo, Markku Martti Olavi Ollikainen, Heikki Martti Setälä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The predicted increase in the number of urban flood events can result in substantial monetary losses to society. These costs may be alleviated by preserving ecosystem services, such as urban runoff management. We studied the monetary value of this ecosystem service by applying the replacement cost method in six catchments with varying land-use intensities in two cities in Finland. The economic analysis was based on metric data of urban runoff generation, provided by automatic monitoring stations in the catchments. A hydrological model was applied to estimate evaporation from impervious surfaces, and to simulate runoff in the catchments. Our results suggest that leaving green space unconstructed results in significant monetary savings. The cost of managing runoff correlated with land-use intensity. The ecosystem service value (ESV) was generally higher in catchments with high land-use intensity, low proportion of green space, and high costs of runoff management. Depending on the degree of imperviousness, the ESV ranged from 90,000–270,000 € ha−1. Further, our results suggest that estimates of runoff generation and evaporation are key hydrological factors for assessing ESV. Our study demonstrates how the combination of field data and hydrological and monetary analyses can support regional planning in cold climates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcosystem Services
Issue numberPart A
Pages (from-to)17-27
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1172 Environmental sciences
  • Urban runoff
  • Ecosystem service valuation
  • Urban green space
  • urban green areas
  • hydrological modeling
  • runoff management
  • economic analysis
  • monetary value

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