Special Issue "Understanding and Optimising the Use of Urban Plants in Managing Urban Air Pollution"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Matthew Tallis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK
Interests: the benefits of vegetation in the urban environment; sustainable approaches in horticulture; the effects of climate change on plant growth and function
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Chiara Baldacchini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Dipartimento di Scienze Ecologiche e Biologiche (DEB), Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
2. Istituto di Ricerca sugli Ecosistemi Terrestri (IRET), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Porano (TR), Italy
Interests: impact of nature-based solutions on environment and society; development of new techniques to assess the air quality mitigation by plants; use of urban forest for source apportionment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Clean air is considered to be a basic requirement of human health and well-being, but where data are collected, 80% of the urban population live with air quality levels that exceed WHO safe limits. Air pollution ranks as the biggest environmental risk to human health, and fine particulate matter (PM2·5) is the fifth leading risk factor for death worldwide. Urban air pollution is a complex mixture of gases and particulate matter originating from a variety of sources, which then concentrates, disperses, or deposits from the atmosphere, according to the local climate, topography, urban structures, and vegetation.

This Special Issue is seeking original, unpublished papers that advance our understanding towards the effective use of plants in reducing the concentration of pollution in urban atmospheres. We particularly welcome papers from empirical research, modelling, remote-sensing, urban planning, design and decision support tools, citizen science approaches, fundamental plant science, social sciences, and specific case-studies, which span a range of spatial scales. The aims of these collected works are to offer new insights towards the optimisation of species, planting designs, and effective spatial planning techniques for the effective deployment of vegetation to reduce air pollution in the urban environment.

Dr. Matthew Tallis
Dr. Chiara Baldacchini
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • air quality
  • nature-based solutions
  • urban forest
  • particulate matter
  • carbon storage

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Road Verge Vegetation and the Capture of Particulate Matter Air Pollution
Environments 2020, 7(10), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100093 - 20 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1026
Abstract
Urban air quality is considered a major issue in cities worldwide, with particulate matter (PM) recognised as one of the most harmful pollutants regarding human health. The use of plants to act as air filters and immobilise PM has been identified as a [...] Read more.
Urban air quality is considered a major issue in cities worldwide, with particulate matter (PM) recognised as one of the most harmful pollutants regarding human health. The use of plants to act as air filters and immobilise PM has been identified as a potential method to improve the air quality in these areas. The majority of the work has focused on trees, with the application of shrub and herbaceous species largely overlooked. Two contrasting leaf morphologies from a shrub and herbaceous plant species were sampled at four locations across Southampton (UK), from varying traffic conditions. Samples were analysed for the mass of PM captured, particle size, and elemental composition. These analyses were used to characterise the different sites and the plants’ effectiveness at immobilisation of PM. Captured PM mass was shown to be directly related to traffic density, with greater traffic density leading to higher levels of captured PM. PM origins were attributed to emissions from vehicles and the resuspension of particles by vehicle movement. The bulk of the PM mass was shown to originate from natural, crustal sources including large proportions of Al, Si, and/or Ca. Increases in elements from anthropogenic enhancement (such as Fe and Zn) were related to high traffic density. Particle size analysis identified that, despite the use of standard leaf-washing protocols with a final 2.5 µm filter, PM was dominated by fine particles (<2.5 µm physical diameter), with particles >10 µm rare. Bramble leaves were calculated to have a species-specific deposition velocity 0.51 cm s−1 greater than ivy, with deposition velocities calculated at 1.8 and 1.3 cm s−1 for ivy and 2.3 and 1.8 cm s−1 for bramble at Redbridge Road and Brinton’s Road, respectively. These values can allow for the more accurate modelling and estimation of the PM removal abilities of these plants. Full article
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Article
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Urban Hedges as Air Pollution Barriers: Importance of Sampling Method, Species Characteristics and Site Location
Environments 2020, 7(10), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments7100081 - 01 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4401
Abstract
Urban hedgerows can act as barriers to roadside particulate air pollution, but details on methodologies to quantify pollutant capture, most efficient species to use, and practical planning advice are still evolving. We aimed to compare three widely used approaches to quantify particulate accumulation [...] Read more.
Urban hedgerows can act as barriers to roadside particulate air pollution, but details on methodologies to quantify pollutant capture, most efficient species to use, and practical planning advice are still evolving. We aimed to compare three widely used approaches to quantify particulate accumulation and deposition, and to ascertain the most cost-effective and robust approach for the rapid screening of various types of hedges. Secondly, using the most efficient methodology, we screened the summertime deposition of particulates on roadside hedges in Reading (UK), not just on species with differing leaf surface characteristics, but also along a transect of the hedge depth. Finally, we also compared particles’ capture by hedge leaf surfaces in locations with different traffic intensities, to try and ascertain the extent of reduction of particles’ concentration in various hedge types and urban locations. Results suggest that the gravimetric determination of particulate capture was most rapid and cost-effective, while being least technically demanding. We confirmed that hairy and more complex leaves captured most particulates, particularly in the >10 μm range. However, species choice only had a significant impact on the extent of capture on major roads, where the pollutant concentrations were highest. Furthermore, only hedge depths in excess of 2 m were found to noticeably reduce the concentration of fine particles in species with less capacity for particulates’ capture. Findings complement the growing body of knowledge to guide urban and landscape planners in choosing the most appropriate species to mitigate air quality in various urban contexts. Full article
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