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Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (2014)

Urban trees and atmospheric pollutants in big cities : Effects in Madrid

Calderon Guerrero, Carlos

Titre : Urban trees and atmospheric pollutants in big cities : Effects in Madrid

Auteur : Calderon Guerrero, Carlos

Université de soutenance : E.T.S.I. Agrónomos (UPM) Universidad Politecnica de Madrid

Grade : Thesis (Doctoral) 2014


Research about air pollution mitigation by urban trees was conducted in Madrid (Spain), a southern European city with almost 4 M inhabitants, 2.8 M daily vehicles and 3 M trees under public maintenance. Most trees were located in two urban forests, while 650’000 trees along urban streets and in parks. The urban taxa included Platanus orientalis (97’205 trees), Ulmus sp. (70’557), Pinus pinea (49’038), Aesculus hippocastanum (22’266), Cedrus sp. (13’678 and Quercus ilex (1’650) along streets and parks. Leave samples were analysed sequentially in different seasons, PM10 data from 28 air monitoring stations during 30 years and traffic density estimated from 2’660 streets. Heavy metal (HM) accumulation on the leaf surface and within leaves was estimated per tree related to air and soil pollution, and traffic intensity. Mean concentration of Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn in topsoil samples (dry mass) amounted in Madrid : 489.5, 0.7, 49.4, 60.9, 460.9, 12.8, 155.9 and 190.3 mg kg-1 respectively. Urban trees, particularly conifers (due to higher pollution in winter) contributed significantly to alleviate air pollution especially near to high ADT roads. The capacity of the six urban street trees species to capture air-born dust on the foliage surface as related to traffic intensity was estimated to 16.8 kg of noxious metals from exhausts per year. Pb and Zn pointed to be tracers of anthropic activity in the city with vehicle traffic as the main source of diffuse pollution on trees and soils. Tree species differed by their capacity to capture air-borne dust (by different leaf surface properties) and to allocate HM from soils. Pb and Zn concentrations in the foliage were above limits in different urban sites and microscopic Zn revelation showed translocation in xylem and phloem tissue. Punctual contamination in soils by Cu and Cr was identified in former industrial areas and spatial trace element mapping showed for central Retiro Park certain high values of [Pb] in soils even related to a Royal pottery 200 years ago. Different areas in the city centre also reached high levels [Pb] in soils. According to the results, a combination of Pinus pinea with understorey Ulmus sp. and Cedrus sp. layers can be recommended for the best air filter efficiency. The effects of ozone (O3) on trees in different areas of Madrid were also part of this study. Despite abatement programs of precursors implemented in many industrialized countries, ozone remained the main air pollutant throughout the northern hemisphere with background [O3] increasing. Some of the highest ozone concentrations were measured in regions with a Mediterranean climate but the effect on the natural vegetation is alleviated by low stomatal uptake and frequent leaf xeromorphy in response to summer drought episodes characteristic of this climate. During a bioindication survey, abiotic O3-like injury was identified in foliage. Trees were growing on an irrigated lawn strip in the centre of Madrid. Given the little structural evidence available for O3 symptoms in broadleaved evergreen species, a study was undertaken in 2007 with the following objectives 1) confirm the diagnosis, 2) investigate the extent of symptoms in holm oaks growing in Madrid and 3) analyse the environmental factors contributing to O3 injury, particularly, the site water supply. Therefore, macro- and micromorphological markers of O3 stress were analysed, using the aforementioned lawn strip as an intensive study site. Symptoms consisted of adaxial and intercostal stippling increasing with leaf age. Underlying stippling, cells in the upper mesophyll showed HR-like reactions typical of ozone stress. The surrounding cells showed further oxidative stress markers. These morphological and micromorphological markers of ozone stress were similar to those recorded in deciduous broadleaved species. However, stippling became obvious already at an AOT40 of 21 ppm•h and was primarily found at irrigated sites. Subsequent analyses showed that irrigated trees had their stomatal conductance increased and leaf life-span reduced whereas their leaf xeromorphy remained unchanged. These findings suggest a central role of water availability versus leaf xeromorphy for ozone symptom expression by cell injury in holm oak.

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Page publiée le 13 septembre 2016