Community well-being as a critical component of urban lake ecosystem health
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Urban lakes are often monitored and managed with limited consideration of adjacent communities. Generally, when communities are considered in relation to urban lakes, they are viewed simply as sources of pollutants. Given the inevitable interactions between an urban lake and the surrounding inhabitants, the community must be considered explicitly when assessing the ecosystem health of urban lakes, as the two entities intrinsically comprise interrelated parts of a single ecosystem. In this study, the reciprocal links between a residential community and a series of urban lakes in South East Queensland have been examined to facilitate a dynamically linked, fully integrated ecosystem health assessment of constructed urban lakes. Residents' attitudes towards, and values derived from, a series of urban lakes were surveyed, as well as residents' behaviours which may impact upon urban lake health. The results indicate that residents derive both tangible and intangible benefits from the urban lakes, but feel little responsibility for lake health or custodianship over the lakes. Greater recognition within urban lake management frameworks of the links between urban lake systems and their surrounding communities may help to foster and enhance both community well-being, a greater sense of custodianship for such systems and improved management.