Atmospheric pollutants in peri-urban forests of Quercus ilex: evidence of pollution abatement and threats for vegetation
- 431 Downloads
Peri-urban vegetation is generally accepted as a significant remover of atmospheric pollutants, but it could also be threatened by these compounds, with origin in both urban and non-urban areas. To characterize the seasonal and geographical variation of pollutant concentrations and to improve the empirical understanding of the influence of Mediterranean broadleaf evergreen forests on air quality, four forests of Quercus ilex (three peri-urban and one remote) were monitored in different areas in Spain. Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ammonia (NH3), nitric acid (HNO3) and ozone (O3) were measured during 2 years in open areas and inside the forests and aerosols (PM10) were monitored in open areas during 1 year. Ozone was the only air pollutant expected to have direct phytotoxic effects on vegetation according to current thresholds for the protection of vegetation. The concentrations of N compounds were not high enough to directly affect vegetation but could be contributing through atmospheric N deposition to the eutrophization of these ecosystems. Peri-urban forests of Q. ilex showed a significant below-canopy reduction of gaseous concentrations (particularly NH3, with a mean reduction of 29–38 %), which indicated the feasibility of these forests to provide an ecosystem service of air quality improvement. Well-designed monitoring programs are needed to further investigate air quality improvement by peri-urban ecosystems while assessing the threat that air pollution can pose to vegetation.
KeywordsAtmospheric pollution Nitrogen Ozone Aerosols Ecosystem services Mediterranean vegetation
This research was funded by the Spanish project EDEN (CGL2009-13188-C03-02), by the project from Autonomous Government of Madrid AGRISOST-CM (P2013/ABI-2717) and by the European Projects ECLAIRE (FP7-ENV-2011/282910) and Life RESPIRA (LIFE13 ENV/ES/000417). This study was also supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Resolución 15398, BOE no. 230). The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Environment (DGQA) of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia for performing the active monitoring of air pollutants at LC (“MSY” station from GAW/ACTRIS monitoring networks) and thank the Government of Navarre for providing valuable data on air quality. We sincerely acknowledge the two anonymous reviewers for a very constructive revision of our work.
- CLRTAP (2011) Mapping critical levels for vegetation. In: UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (ed) Manual on Methodologies and Criteria for Modelling and Mapping Critical Loads & Levels and Air Pollution Effects, Risks and Trends. Available at: www.icpmapping.org.
- Dise NB, Ashmore M, Belyazid S, et al. (2011) Nitrogen as a threat to European terrestrial biodiversity. In: Sutton MA, et al. (eds) The European nitrogen assessment. Sources, effects and policy perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 463–494.Google Scholar
- Domínguez-López D, Adame JA, Hernández-Ceballos MA et al (2014) Spatial and temporal variation of surface ozone, NO and NO2 at urban, suburban, rural and industrial sites in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. Environ Monit Assess 186:5337–5351. doi: 10.1007/s10661-014-3783-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- EEA (2013) Air quality in Europe—2013 report (EEA Report No 9/2013).Google Scholar
- EEA (2014) Airbase v8. Available at: http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/airbase-the-european-air-quality-database-8 (last accessed 15.10.14), European Environmental Agency.
- Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri (2006) Instruction manual for Radiello sampler. Edition 01/2006. http://www.radiello.com.
- Fowler D (2002) Pollutant deposition and uptake by vegetation. In: Bell JNB, Treshow M (eds) Air pollution and plant life, 2nd edn. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, pp 43–67Google Scholar
- Hjellbrekke A-G (2014) Data report 2012. Acidifying and eutrophying compounds and particulate matter (EMEP/CCC, 03/2014). Edited by Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)–Chemical Coordination Center of EMEP (CCC), Oslo.Google Scholar
- MAGRAMA (2014) Banco Público de Indicadores Ambientales. Edited by Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA). Available at http://www.magrama.gob.es.
- The Royal Society (2008) Ground-level ozone in the 21st century: future trends, impacts and policy implications. Edited by: Fowler D, et al. R. Soc., London.Google Scholar