Advertisement

Plant and Soil

, Volume 413, Issue 1–2, pp 45–57 | Cite as

Vacant urban lot soils and their potential to support ecosystem services

  • Dustin L. HerrmannEmail author
  • William D. Shuster
  • Ahjond S. Garmestani
Regular Article

Abstract

Aims

Urban soils are the basis of many ecosystem services in cities. Here, we examine formerly residential vacant lot soils in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, USA for their potential to provide multiple ecosystem services. We examine two key contrasts: 1) differences between cities and 2) differences within vacant lots created during demolition, specifically pre-existing (i.e., prior to demolition) soils outside of the building footprint and fill soils added within the former building’s footprint.

Methods

Deep soil cores were collected from vacant lots in Cleveland and Detroit. Soil properties that are proxies for three ecosystem services were measured: hydraulic conductivity for stormwater retention, topsoil depth and soil nitrogen (N) level for support for plant growth, and soil carbon (C) content for C storage.

Results

Both city and soil group contrasts created distinct ecosystem service provisioning based on proxy measures. Cleveland soils had greater hydraulic conductivity and greater soil C and N levels but thinner topsoil layers than Detroit. Within vacant lots of both cities, pre-existing soils had greater soil C and N levels, but lower hydraulic conductivity values than fill soils.

Conclusions

Soil properties of vacant lots were generally suitable for providing multiple ecosystem services. City-level differences in soil properties created differences in ecosystem service potential between cities and these differences were evident in pre-existing and fill soils. When comparing between cities, though, fill soils were more similar than pre-existing soils indicating some homogenization of ecosystem service potential with greater redistribution of soil.

Keywords

Cleveland Detroit Ecosystem services Vacant lots Shrinking cities 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank A. Knerl and K. Gilkey for research assistance. Previous versions of this paper were greatly improved by the comments of three anonymous reviewers. Partial financial support was provided by an appointment of D.L. Herrmann to the research participation program with the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through the US DOE and US EPA. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the views or policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Compliance with Ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

References

  1. Amoozegar A (1989) Comparison of the Glover solution with the simultaneous-equations approach for measuring hydraulic conductivity. Soil Sci Soc Am J 53:1362–1367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews SS, Karlen DL, Mitchell JP (2002) A comparison of soil quality indexing methods for vegetable production systems in Northern California. Agric Ecosyst Environ 90:25–45. doi: 10.1016/S0167-8809(01)00174-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beard JB (1973) Turfgrass: Science and Culture. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USGoogle Scholar
  4. Berland A, Schwarz K, Herrmann DL, Hopton ME (2015) How environmental justice patterns are shaped by place: terrain and tree canopy in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Cities Environ 8(1):Article 1Google Scholar
  5. Bowen CK, Schuman GE, Olson RA, Ingram J (2005) Influence of topsoil depth on plant and soil attributes of 24-year old reclaimed mined lands. Arid L Res Manag 19:267–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowman AO, Pagano MA (2004) Terra Incognito: Vacant Land and Urban Strategies. Georgetown University Press, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  7. Detroit Future City (2012) 2012 Detroit Strategic Framework Plan. Inland Press, Detroit, MIGoogle Scholar
  8. City of Detroit (2014) Detroit Blight Removal Task Force Plan. Detroit, MIGoogle Scholar
  9. Craul PJ (1992) Urban Soil in Landscape Design. John Wiley and Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Craul PJ (1999) Urban Soils: Applications and Practices. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  11. Dunne T, Leopold LB (1978) Water in Environmental Planning. W.H. Freeman Co., San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  12. Effland WR, Pouyat RV (1997) The genesis, classification, and mapping of soils in urban areas. Urban Ecosyst 1:217–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Furio B, Grosshans J, Bratko J, et al (2013) On the road to reuse: residential demolition bid specification development tool. US Environmental Protection Agency Report 560K13002. US EPA Region 5, Chicago, IL, USAGoogle Scholar
  14. Gee GW, Or D (2002) Particle size analysis. In: Dane JH, Topp GC (eds) Methods of Soil Analysis. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, USA, pp. 255–289Google Scholar
  15. Golubiewski NE (2006) Urbanization increases grassland carbon pools: effects of landscaping in Colorado’s Front Range. Ecol Appl 16:555–571CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Green OO, Garmestani AS, Albro S, et al. (2016) Adaptive governance to promote ecosystem services in urban green spaces. Urban Ecosytems 19:77–93. doi: 10.1007/s11252-015-0476-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Groffman PM, Cavender-Bares J, Bettez ND, et al. (2014) Ecological homogenization of urban USA. Front Ecol Environ 12:74–81. doi: 10.1890/120374 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Haase D (2008) Urban ecology of shrinking cities: an unrecognized opportunity? Nat Cult 3:1–8. doi: 10.3167/nc.2008.030101 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Haase A, Rink D, Grossmann K, et al. (2014a) Conceptualizing urban shrinkage. Environ Plan A 46:1519–1534. doi: 10.1068/a46269 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Haase D, Haase A, Rink D (2014b) Conceptualizing the nexus between urban shrinkage and ecosystem services. Landsc Urban Plan 132:159–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Herrmann DL, Pearse IS, Baty JH (2012) Drivers of specialist herbivore diversity across 10 cities. Landsc Urban Plan 108:123–130. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.08.007 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hopkins KG, Morse NB, Bain DJ, et al. (2015) Assessment of regional variation in streamflow responses to urbanization and the persistence of physiography. Environ Sci Technol. doi: 10.1021/es505389y PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Huyler A, Chappelka AH, Prior SA, Somers GL (2014) Drivers of soil carbon in residential “pure lawns” in Auburn, Alabama. Urban Ecosyst 17:205–219. doi: 10.1007/s11252-013-0294-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jenny H (1941) Factors of Soil Formation: A System of Quantitative Pedology. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Kremer P, Hamstead ZA (2015) Transformation of urban vacant lots for the common good: an introduction to the special issue. Cities Environ 8(2):Article 1Google Scholar
  26. Martinez-Fernandez C, Audirac I, Fol S, Cunningham-Sabot E (2012) Shrinking cities: urban challenges of globalization. Int J Urban Reg Res 36:213–225. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2427.2011.01092.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. McKinney ML (2006) Urbanization as a major cause of biotic homogenization. Biol Conserv 127:247–260. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2005.09.005 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. NRCS (2013) Pedon descriptions. in: National Soil Survey Handbook. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington DC, p. 627.08Google Scholar
  29. Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Kindt R, et al (2015) Vegan: community ecology packageGoogle Scholar
  30. Pataki DE, Carreiro MM, Cherrier J, et al. (2011) Coupling biogeochemical cycles in urban environments: ecosystem services, green solutions, and misconceptions. Front Ecol Environ 9:27–36. doi: 10.1890/090220 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pavao-Zuckerman MA (2008) The nature of urban soils and their role in ecological restoration in cities. Restor Ecol 16:642–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pavao-Zuckerman MA (2012) Urbanization, soils, and ecosystem services. In: Wall DH, Bardgett RD, Behan-Pelletier V, et al. (eds) Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 270–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pavao-Zuckerman MA, Byrne LB (2009) Scratching the surface and digging deeper: exploring ecological theories in urban soils. Urban Ecosyst 12:9–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pickett STA, Cadenasso ML (2009) Altered resources, disturbance, and heterogeneity: a framework for comparing urban and non-urban soils. Urban Ecosyst 12:23–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pouyat R, Groffman P, Yesilonis I, Hernandez L (2002) Soil carbon pools and fluxes in urban ecosystems. Environ Pollut 116:S107–S118CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Pouyat RV, Pataki DE, Belt KT, et al. (2007) Effects of urban land-use change on biogeochemical cycles. In: Terrestrial Ecosystems in a Changing World. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 45–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pouyat RV, Yesilonis ID, Golubiewski NE (2009) A comparison of soil organic carbon stocks between residential turf grass and native soil. Urban Ecosyst 12:45–62. doi: 10.1007/s11252-008-0059-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pouyat RV, Szlavecz K, Yesilonis ID, et al. (2010) Chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of urban soils. In: Aitkenhead-Peterson J, Volder A (eds) Urban Ecosystem Ecology. Agronomy M. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, USA, pp. 119–152Google Scholar
  39. R Core Team (2014) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  40. Raciti SM, Groffman PM, Jenkins JC, et al. (2011a) Nitrate production and availability in residential soils. Ecol Appl 21:2357–2366CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Raciti SM, Groffman PM, Jenkins JC, et al. (2011b) Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen in residential soils with different land-use histories. Ecosystems 14:287–297. doi: 10.1007/s10021-010-9409-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rhea L, Shuster W, Shaffer J, Losco R (2014) Data proxies for assessment of urban soil suitability to support green infrastructure. J Soil Water Conserv 69:254–265. doi: 10.2489/jswc.69.3.254 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schilling J, Logan J (2008) Greening the Rust Belt. J Am Plan Assoc 74:451–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schwarz K, Cutts BB, London JK, Cadenasso ML (2016) Growing gardens in shrinking cities: a solution to the soil lead problem? Sustainability 8:141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shuster WD, Dadio S, Drohan P, et al. (2014a) Residential demolition and its impact on vacant lot hydrology: implications for the management of stormwater and sewer system overflows. Landsc Urban Plan 125:48–56. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.02.003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shuster WD, Dadio SD, Burkman CE, et al. (2014b) Hydropedological assessments of parcel-level infiltration in an arid urban ecosystem. Soil Sci Soc Am J. doi: 10.2136/sssaj2014.05.0200 Google Scholar
  47. Soil Survey Staff (1993) Soil Survey Manual, Handbook 1. USDA-Soil Conservation Service, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  48. Soil Survey Staff (2010) Keys to soil taxonomy, 11th edn. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  49. Walsh CJ, Fletcher TD, Burns MJ (2012) Urban stormwater runoff: a new class of environmental flow problem. PLoS one 7:e45814CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Wickham H (2009) ggplot2: elegant graphics for data analysis. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland (outside the USA)  2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dustin L. Herrmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • William D. Shuster
    • 2
  • Ahjond S. Garmestani
    • 2
  1. 1.Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Research Participant ProgramUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Office of Research and DevelopmentUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyCincinnatiUSA

Personalised recommendations