Ecosystem Services and Potential Utilization of of Urban Typha angustifolia Wetlands of across Metropolitan Bangkok, Thailand

Monday, 15 December 2014
Sanpisa Sritrairat, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
Over half the world’s 7.2 billion population are living in urban habitats. While these cities only occupy 2% of the world’s surface, the ecological footprint by these cities combined is far greater than that of the other 98% of the world. Bangkok, Thailand has experienced this rapid urbanization that has resulted in various environmental problems, including pollution, land subsidence, and flooding. Major flooding in 2011 has raised awareness about the importance of restoring ecosystem services in urban space to cope up with the forecasted extreme climatic conditions. Finding localized flooding, carbon and pollution mitigation methods will be important to cities. Upland reforestration has been proposed as a way to decrease these anthropogenic and climate change impacts. However, there is also a large area of wetlands in Bangkok with possibly high ecosystem services that have not been quantified. This study measure above ground and below ground carbon accumulation in wide-spread Typha angustifolia wetlands as an untapped source of ecosystem services that are worth projected. These wetlands are typically viewed as wasteland and are not being protected. We examined carbon and heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cu) pools in 7 wetlands across Bangkok with various environmental settings--from industrialized zone, to residential area, farms, and protected urban green space. The results indicate recent peat accumulation layer by these wetlands at high rate. Heavy concentration are found near contaminant source such as industries and farms. Combined with their ability to buffer storms and being habitats for wildlife, these wetlands have important values in increasing ecosystem services in urban space and should be considered for protection.