CONTRIBUTION OF URBAN CEMETERIES TO ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: EVIDENCE FROM TOURISTIC ANTALYA CITY OF TURKEY
Keywords: Ecosystem Services, Urban Cemeteries, Carbon Sequestration, I-Tree Canopy, Remote Sensing
Abstract. This study focuses on concretely determining the contribution of cemeteries to the urban ecosystems in Antalya, one of the most important tourism destinations of Turkey. The study covers three cemeteries (Andızlı, Arapsuyu, and Uncalı Cemeteries) located in the city center of Antalya, with an area of 14.02 ha, 5.12 ha, and 22.96 ha, respectively. These areas are classified into two classes as vegetation and non-vegetation to calculate ecosystem services with open access and user-friendly i-Tree Canopy software to calculate the contribution of green areas in the mentioned cemeteries to the regulatory services of the ecosystem. According to the results, the green cover in the Andızlı Cemetery constitutes 81.64% of the total cemetery area and holds 54.35 tons of carbon per year. In terms of combating air pollution, it has been determined that the cemetery contributes to ecosystem services by removing a total of 1085.60 kilos of CO, NO2, O3, SO2, and PM annually. Similarly, with its 4.88% impermeable buildings, 2.93% other impermeable surfaces, 18.55% soil ground, and 73.63% vegetation, the green cover of Arapsuyu Cemetery captures 357.96 kg of pollutants per year. Lastly, Uncalı Cemetery was shown to remove 1466.01 kg of air pollutants and 73.40 tons of carbon. Cemeteries that are part of the green infrastructure system and its contributions to ecosystem services are emphasized among the proposals to be made in line with the 2050 targets of the European Green Deal. In this context, by making legal and administrative additions to the spatial planning throughout the city, the realization of this intention might be accelerated.