Ecosystem Services

Cultivating our communities


Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Green Corps farms are scattered throughout 6 neighborhoods in central Cleveland and the near East Side. In addition to growing food, these farms serve as outdoor laboratories for studying the benefits, or ecosystem services, that urban agriculture provides to human communities and the environment. Such benefits add important value to neighborhoods but are not usually quantified.

By comparing urban farms to undeveloped vacant land, our research partners are working to identify the effects of urban agriculture on soil nematodes, insect pollination, spider communities, bird habitat, and plant assemblages in the inner city. At the same time, we are using economic models to estimate the monetary value of ecosystem services to cities. This monetization of ecosystem services will help make the case for long-term land-use planning that preserves urban green space.

Our research partners

Rumi Shammin, Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College

Northeast Ohio Ecosystem Consortium (NEOECO)

Bernard M. Walton, Department of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science, Cleveland State University

Dr. Mary Gardiner, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University 

Dr. Parwinder Grewal, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University