Keywords: conservation, ecosystem services, restoration, urban riparian areas, Greece, sustainable management, quality of life, environmental impact, sustainability, sustainable development
Riparian areas in urban settings: two case studies from Greece
Riparian areas are significant ecosystems due to the numerous and substantial services they provide. These ecosystem services can range from wildlife habitat, water quality improvement, flood mitigation and recreational opportunities. Human developments, including cities and towns are frequently established in the riparian areas and degrade their functionality. Maintaining healthy riparian areas in urban settings that sustain their connectivity with the natural riparian areas should be of a great priority. Fragmented riparian areas lose many of the aforementioned ecosystem services. At the same time healthy riparian areas are aesthetically pleasing, creating a feeling of escape for the inhabitants, while also increasing the real estate value of the adjacent structures. In this study examples of healthy and degraded urban riparian areas from two Greek cities are presented. Overall, the proper restoration and sustainable management of these areas can improve the quality of life in urban settings and maintain the services they provide.