Browsing by Subject "URBAN TREES"

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  • Riikonen, Anu; Järvi, Leena; Nikinmaa, Eero (2016)
    We investigated the drivers of street tree transpiration in boreal conditions, in order to better understand tree water use in the context of urban tree planning and stormwater management. Two streets built in Helsinki in 2002, hemiboreal zone that had been planted either with Tilia x vulgaris or Alnus glutinosa f. pyramidalis were used as the study sites. Tree water use was measured from sap flow over the 2008-2011 period by the heat dissipation method. Penman-Monteith based evapotranspiration models of increasing complexity were tested against the tree water use measurements to assess the role of environmental and tree related factors in tree transpiration. Alnus and Tilia respectively used 1.1 and 0.8 l of water per m(2) of leaf area per day under ample water conditions, but the annual variation was high. The Penman-Monteith evapotranspiration estimate and soil water status changes explained over 80 % of the variation in tree transpiration when the model was parameterized annually. The addition of tree crown surface area in the model improved its accuracy and diminished variation between years and sites. Using single parameterization over all four years instead of annually varying one did not produce reliable estimates of tree transpiration. Tree transpiration, scaled to different canopy cover percentages, implied that the columnar Alnus trees could transpire as much as all annual rainfall at or less than 50 % canopy cover.
  • Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Viippola, Juho Viljami; Kotze, David Johannes; Setälä, Heikki Martti (2017)
    Trees are believed to improve air quality, thus providing an important ecosystem service for urban inhabitants. However, empirical evidence on the beneficial effects of urban vegetation on air quality at the local level and in boreal climatic regions is scarce. We studied the influence of greenbelt-type forest patches on NO2 levels (i) in front of, (ii) inside and (iii) behind greenbelts next to major roads in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland, during summer and winter using passive collectors. Concentrations of NO2 were significantly higher in front of greenbelts compared to road sides without greenbelts. The more trees there were inside greenbelts the higher the NO2 level in front of greenbelts, likely due to the formation of a recirculation zone of air flow in front of greenbelts. Similarly, NO2 levels were higher inside greenbelts than in open areas without them, likely due to reduced air flow inside greenbelts. NO2 levels behind greenbelts were similar to those detected at the same distance from the road but without greenbelts. Our results suggest that, regardless of season, roadside greenbelts of mostly broadleaf trees do not reduce NO2 levels in near-road environments, but can result in higher NO2 levels in front of and inside greenbelts.
  • Viippola, Juho Viljami; Whitlow, Thomas; Zhao, Wenlin; Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Mikola, Juha Tapio; Pouyat, Richard; Setälä, Heikki Martti (2018)
    It is often stated that plants remove air pollutants from the urban atmosphere with their large leaf area, thus providing benefits − i.e. ecosystem services − for citizens. However, empirical evidence showing that local-scale air quality is uniformly improved by urban forests is scarce. We studied the influence of conifer-dominated peri-urban forests on the springtime levels of NO2 and particle pollution at different distances from roads, using passive samplers and high time resolution particle counters in a northern climate in Finland. Passive samplers provided average values over a one month period, while active particle counters provided real time measurements of air pollution to mimic human inhalation frequency. NO2 concentrations were slightly higher in forests than in adjacent open areas, while passive particle measurements showed the opposite trend. Active particle monitoring campaigns showed no systematic forest effect for PM2.5, but larger particles were reduced in the forest, corroborating the passive sampling result. Attenuation rates of the mean values of the studied pollutants did not differ between the forest and open habitats. However, high time resolution particle data revealed a distance effect that was apparent only in the forest transect: peak events at the forest edge were higher, while peaks furthest from the road were lower compared to the open transect. Furthermore, the magnitude of PM2.5 peak events was distinctly higher at forest edge than equivalent distance in the open area. Vegetation characteristics, such as canopy cover and tree density, did not explain differences in pollutant levels in majority of cases. Our results imply that evergreen-dominated forests near roads can slightly worsen local air quality regarding NO2 and PM2.5 in northern climates, but that coarser particle pollution can be reduced by such forest vegetation. It seems that the potential of roadside vegetation to mitigate air pollution is largely determined by the vegetation effects on airflow.
  • Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Scott, Anna A.; Viippola, Juho Viljami; Setälä, Heikki Martti (2017)
    Trees and other vegetation absorb and capture air pollutants, leading to the common perception that they, and trees in particular, can improve air quality in cities and provide an important ecosystem service for urban inhabitants. Yet, there has been a lack of empirical evidence showing this at the local scale with different plant configurations and climatic regions. We studied the impact of urban park and forest vegetation on the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ground-level ozone (O3) while controlling for temperature during early summer (May) using passive samplers in Baltimore, USA. Concentrations of O3 were significantly lower in tree-covered habitats than in adjacent open habitats, but concentrations of NO2 did not differ significantly between tree-covered and open habitats. Higher temperatures resulted in higher pollutant concentrations and NO2 and O3 concentration were negatively correlated with each other. Our results suggest that the role of trees in reducing NO2 concentrations in urban parks and forests in the Mid-Atlantic USA is minor, but that the presence of tree-cover can result in lower O3 levels compared to similar open areas. Our results further suggest that actions aiming at local air pollution mitigation should consider local variability in vegetation, climate, micro-climate, and traffic conditions.
  • Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes; Scott, Anna A.; Viippola, Juho Viljami; Setälä, Heikki Martti (2017)
    Trees and other vegetation absorb and capture air pollutants, leading to the common perception that they, and trees in particular, can improve air quality in cities and provide an important ecosystem service for urban inhabitants. Yet, there has been a lack of empirical evidence showing this at the local scale with different plant configurations and climatic regions. We studied the impact of urban park and forest vegetation on the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ground-level ozone (O3) while controlling for temperature during early summer (May) using passive samplers in Baltimore, USA. Concentrations of O3 were significantly lower in tree-covered habitats than in adjacent open habitats, but concentrations of NO2 did not differ significantly between tree-covered and open habitats. Higher temperatures resulted in higher pollutant concentrations and NO2 and O3 concentration were negatively correlated with each other. Our results suggest that the role of trees in reducing NO2 concentrations in urban parks and forests in the Mid-Atlantic USA is minor, but that the presence of tree-cover can result in lower O3 levels compared to similar open areas. Our results further suggest that actions aiming at local air pollution mitigation should consider local variability in vegetation, climate, micro-climate, and traffic conditions.