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Session 4, Abstract 23b

CURRENT AND FUTURE VALUE OF ECOSYSTEM SERVICES PROVIDED BY LOS ANGELES’ ASCOT HILLS PARK

Kesterlyn Wilson* (Demian A. Willette), Loyola Marymount University, Department of Biology, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles 90045

Rapid urbanization has stimulated interest in valuing ecological services and the possibility of incentivizing the restoration of damaged urban habitats. Ecosystem services are defined as the natural profits that a healthy, functioning ecosystem provide to humans, such as climate control, water filtration, and recreational benefits. These aspects have an economic value to them, as well. Located in the highly urbanized neighborhood of El Sereno, Ascot Hills Park offers hiking trails and scenic views inclusive of the San Bernardino Mountains, Catalina Island, and iconic Hollywood sign. Threatened for decades with multiple plans to develop the land, the 37.5 hectare Ascot Hills Park was established in 2008 to provide adequate green space to this historically impoverished community in northeast Los Angeles. The purpose of this research is to quantify a dollar value on the natural benefits of the different habitats of Ascot Hills Park. The park consists of four primary habitat types: grassland (72.1%) woodland (8.5%), California sage scrub (5.8%), and riparian (5.5%), as well as roads and parking lots (8.1%). In its present condition, the value of park land is $10,943 per hectare per year. We hypothesize that underwriting of restoration efforts will grow the economic value of the park’s ecosystem services and provide a long-lasting return on investment to the people of Los Angeles.