Optimizing the co-benefits of biodiversity and carbon sinks in urban residential yards

Mari Ariluoma*, Antti Kinnunen, Jussi Lampinen, Ranja Hautamäki, Juudit Ottelin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

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Urban green infrastructure is recognized for its potential to combat
biodiversity loss and enhance carbon sequestration in cities. While residential
yards constitute a significant part of urban green infrastructure, their role in
providing urban ecosystem services remains largely understated. There is a
lack of systematic measures for effectively implementing urban vegetation
to enhance ecosystem services. The aim of this study is to investigate
how different vegetation types typically found in urban residential yards of
apartment blocks can enhance carbon sequestration and biodiversity, and
how these benefits can be supported through landscape design. The study
encompasses an integrative literature review and qualitative analysis. Drawing
from a review of previous research, this study identifies the drivers that
indicate either carbon sink potential or biodiversity enhancement potential
of urban vegetation types. The drivers are then cross-examined to identify
the qualities of urban green that potentially strengthen carbon–biodiversity
co-benefits. As the key findings we present versatile measures to enhance
the potential co-benefits of carbon sinks and biodiversity within urban yards
and summarize them in three main categories: plant diversity, provision
of good growing conditions and maintenance. The study stresses that the
several potential co-benefits of urban green can only be achieved through
the selection and prioritization of solutions during the planning and design
process. To exemplify this, we demonstrate how the findings from the
literature review can be incorporated into the design and management of
urban yards. We conclude that the main actions to be addressed in the future
planning and design of urban residential yards are (i) establishing diverse
planting areas with a mixture of woody and herbaceous plants to encourage
species richness and complexity, (ii) optimizing the use of space and growth
conditions, and, (iii) implementing maintenance practices that consider both
carbon and biodiversity aspects. The study highlights that through enhancing
carbon-biodiversity co-benefits urban yards can significantly contribute to
major environmental challenges and provide vital ecosystem services within
the built urban environments.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1327614
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Cities
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024
MoE publication typeA2 Review article, Literature review, Systematic review


  • landscape design
  • urban green infrastructure
  • urban vegetation
  • urban residential yards
  • biodiversity enhancement
  • carbon sinks


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