The Role of Vegetation in Urban Air Quality

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 November 2024 | Viewed by 745

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Biology, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
2. Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, 70211 Kuopio, Finland
Interests: atmospheric pollution; biodiversity; biomarkers; biomonitoring; carbon sequestration; environmental management; habitat quality; insect coloration; plant–pollinator interactions; urban ecology

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Guest Editor
Research Unit Environmental Simulation (EUS), Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
Interests: VOC; terpenoids; air pollution; metabolomics; abiotic stress; biotic stress; chemical ecology; climate simulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Globally, atmospheric pollution is one of the most significant areas of environmental concern. This issue is more severe in industrial and urban areas than in natural or rural environments. Urban environments release a large amount of pollution into the atmosphere, with output often reaching high levels that exceed the limits set by national regulation. Further, more than two-thirds of the global population are expected to live in cities in 30 years, meaning that air quality will likely further worsen. It may be possible for cities to act simultaneously as a sink of greenhouses gases (GHGs) and pollution, as plants can fix CO2 and remove air pollutants. In an era of rapid urbanization, understanding air phytoremediation capacity and effectively integrating this knowledge with land-use planning can help to mitigate atmospheric pollution.

The interplay between urban greening and air quality is complex. The size, spatial organization, and species composition of urban green areas impact the ecosystem services through carbon sinks, air cooling, and phytoremediation capacities. Plant foliage sequestrates atmospheric carbon dioxide and filters pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and ozone, while releasing oxygen and water vapors. Plants release biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), which have both positive (cues for pollinators) and negative (precursors for tropospheric ozone) environmental effects. Thus, the understanding of plant-specific mechanisms and ecophysiological response to environmental conditions, followed by integrating this knowledge with urban landscape management and greening projects, is critical to improving air quality.

In this Special Issue of Atmosphere, we welcome original contributions that offer new and fundamental insights on how diverse vegetation types improve air quality in cities worldwide. We encourage authors to submit papers that consider—but are not restricted to—a diverse range of urban environments or vegetation types across climatic regions and countries. We welcome discussions, reviews, and opinions that summarize the current knowledge, provide a collection of recent advances, propose solution-oriented ideas, and suggest reasonable decision-making policies.

Dr. Oksana Skaldina
Dr. Andrea Ghirardo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • atmospheric pollution
  • air phytoremediation
  • biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs)
  • green areas
  • greenhouse emissions
  • ecosystem services by plants
  • ozone pollution
  • particulate matter (PM)
  • urban greening
  • urban air quality

Published Papers (1 paper)

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17 pages, 2456 KiB  
Impact of Urban Forest and Park on Air Quality and the Microclimate in Jinan, Northern China
by Kun Liu, Juan Li, Lei Sun, Xueqiao Yang, Chongqing Xu and Guihuan Yan
Atmosphere 2024, 15(4), 426; - 29 Mar 2024
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Though the impact of urban vegetation on air quality and the microclimate has attracted increasing attention, there have been few studies quantitatively assessing this impact in North China, where air pollution is severe. In this study, we investigated the impact of urban forests [...] Read more.
Though the impact of urban vegetation on air quality and the microclimate has attracted increasing attention, there have been few studies quantitatively assessing this impact in North China, where air pollution is severe. In this study, we investigated the impact of urban forests and urban parks on air quality and the microclimate in Jinan, northern China. Six sites were chosen to represent urban forest, urban park, and downtown areas, respectively. The results indicate that urban forest can effectively reduce PM2.5 and ozone (O3) concentrations in the warm season, when temperatures are higher and plants are lush. The PM2.5 and O3 concentrations in the urban forest areas were 6.3–6.5 μg m−3 and 21–23 μg m−3 lower than those in downtown areas during the period of 10:00–15:00. In contrast, urban park areas can reduce PM2.5 concentrations but have little impact on gaseous pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and O3. Furthermore, both urban forest and urban park areas reduced temperatures, by approximately 4.1–6.8 °C and 1.36 °C, respectively, and increased relative humidity, by about 13.4–12.9% and 0.9%, promoting a more comfortable thermal environment for residents. Therefore, this study highlights the crucial role of urban vegetation in improving air quality and creating a comfortable environment for residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Vegetation in Urban Air Quality)
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