Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prominent component of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, resulting mainly from fuel combustion in the built environment – for activities such as heating of buildings, urban mobility and cooking. The concentration of near-surface CO2 in cities is affected by a range of factors, including traffic density and atmospheric stability. Plants have the capacity to sequester CO2 through photosynthesis, and can therefore store carbon in plant biomass and in the soil. Green areas in the city may significantly affect local concentrations of atmospheric CO2, as observed in urban-to-rural comparisons showing lower CO2 concentration in the presence of vegetation. CO2 sequestration over the ‘urban forest’ displays diurnal variation during the growing period, with uptake during daytime when plants are photosynthetically active, and nocturnal emissions in response to respiration. High atmospheric CO2 concentrations represent a fertilizer for plants, promoting more efficient photosynthesis. However, urban plants often experience environmental stresses which compromise the photosynthetic apparatus, and in extreme cases may turn plants from carbon sinks into carbon sources. In this chapter, we review the most recent studies and highlight emerging research needs for a better understanding of present and future roles of urban trees in removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
|Title of host publication||The Urban Forest : Cultivating Green Infrastructure for People and the Environment|
|Editors||David Pearlmutter, Carlo Calfapietra, Roeland Samson, Liz O'Brien, Silvija Krajter Ostoic, Giovanni Sanesi, Rocío Alonso del Amo|
|Publication status||Published - 2017|