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The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2023) | Viewed by 11882

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biogeochemistry and Soil Science, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, 85796 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: enzymes; soil; macroelements; agriculture; environmental
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Biogeochemistry and Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Bydgoszcz University of Technology, 85-225 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: cereal; grain yield; agrotechnical factors; quality of grain; technological parameters; the biological value of proteins; growing herbs; the quality of herbs
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Biogeochemistry and Soil Science, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, 85796 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: soil chemistry and physicochemistry; soil organic carbon; humic substances; HPLC; UV-VIS
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Soil fertility is the ability of soil to meet the needs of plants by providing necessary nutrients for their proper function and development and depends on many factors, including the abundance of useful minerals for plants and the structure of the soil profile, as well as the chemical, physical and biological properties of the soil. The fertility of the soil is formed over decades and determines its agricultural suitability. Until recently, soil was regarded as an environmental filter, ensuring the quality of both water and the atmosphere. More than half of humans now live in towns. The policy of sustainable development assumes an improved state of ecological life by developing favourable bioclimatic conditions; thus, the protection of urban soils, e.g., park gardens, is related to the natural revitalization of cities, as well as the quality of the biodiversity of the urban landscape and the health conditions of the population. The intensive development of the urban environment leads to the creation of modern urban soils that significantly differ from natural soils. Unfortunately, most urban soils are exposed to the effects of the transport system, which intensifies the emissions of many chemical compounds derived from fuel combustion, tyre use and other materials. Urban agriculture will often include peri-urban agricultural areas around cities and towns, which may provide products and services to the local population.

Given the importance of the relationship between urban greening, agriculture and soil quality, we are pleased to launch a new Special Issue titled “The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality”.

Discussions surrounding oil ecology, urban soils, chemical and physical soil parameters, soil fertility, agriculture, soil quality and biological properties of the soil are welcome. These will support assessments and provide evidence of the relationship between urban greening, agriculture and soil quality for the conservation, rehabilitation and restoration of urban landscapes, thus, improving soil fertility and agricultural production.

Hence, this Special Issue, of the journal Sustainability, invites the submission of manuscripts on the above-mentioned topics.

Dr. Joanna Lemanowicz
Dr. Wojciech Kozera
Dr. Magdalena Banach-Szott
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2400 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.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 2781 KiB  
Article
The Response of Rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) Seedlings to Silver and Gold Nanoparticles
by Magdalena Tomaszewska-Sowa, Dariusz Pańka, Karol Lisiecki and Grzegorz Lemańczyk
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16030977 - 23 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1078
Abstract
With the advancement of nanotechnology and the increasing utilization of nanoparticles (NPs), their production and release into the environment are on the rise. Consequently, it is crucial to continuously monitor the toxicity of nanoparticles for humans, animals, and plants, as well as their [...] Read more.
With the advancement of nanotechnology and the increasing utilization of nanoparticles (NPs), their production and release into the environment are on the rise. Consequently, it is crucial to continuously monitor the toxicity of nanoparticles for humans, animals, and plants, as well as their impact on the environment. This is particularly significant in relation to human health and food production, given the escalating use of nanomaterials in agriculture and horticulture. The aim of the study was to investigate the response of rapeseed seedlings to silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) over different periods of exposure. This research analyzed the impact of these nanoparticles on the biochemical response of rapeseed seedlings after 7, 14, and 21 days of growth in their presence. This study assessed the activity of guaiacol peroxidase (GPOX), pyrogallol peroxidase (PPOX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and free protein content, as well as the interactions between key elements responsible for oxidative stress and the antioxidant response. The findings demonstrated a significant effect of AgNPs and AuNPs on stimulating the response of rapeseed seedlings, with the activity of PPOX, GPOX, and SOD being dependent on the exposure time and the type and dose of nanoparticles used. Enzyme activity increased with the length of exposure time, while the content of free protein decreased over the weeks. The most intense reaction of seedlings was observed in the case of GPOX, with the lowest activity observed in PPOX and SOD. High effects of the nanoparticle type and rate were also observed in the correlation matrix. This study suggests that a comprehensive analysis of plant reactions to nanoparticles could have a significant impact on the proper and effective use of nanoparticles in agriculture and horticulture. This could lead to the environmentally friendly production of high-quality plant material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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12 pages, 1589 KiB  
Article
The Content and Stratification of SOC and Its Humified Fractions Using Different Soil Tillage and Inter-Cropping
by Alvyra Slepetiene, Grazina Kadziene, Skaidre Suproniene, Aida Skersiene and Ona Auskalniene
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16030953 - 23 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 777
Abstract
Five different tillage systems were researched in a Cambisol of a loam texture in the long-term experiment: conventional ploughing at 22–24 cm (CT), shallow ploughing at 16–18 cm (ShT), harrowing at 8–10 cm (MT1), harrowing at 14–16 cm (MT2), and no tilling (NT). [...] Read more.
Five different tillage systems were researched in a Cambisol of a loam texture in the long-term experiment: conventional ploughing at 22–24 cm (CT), shallow ploughing at 16–18 cm (ShT), harrowing at 8–10 cm (MT1), harrowing at 14–16 cm (MT2), and no tilling (NT). The aim of this study was to determine how different tillage and inter-cropping influence the accumulation and distribution of SOC (soil organic carbon) and its compounds in different soil layers. SOC content changed depending on the soil tillage system and inter-crops used. Stratification ratios (SR) of SOC in the surface soil (0–10 cm) to that in the 10–20 cm (SR1) and 20–30 cm (SR2) were calculated. In our research, SR for SOC varied in the range from 0.97 to 1.35 for SR1 and from 1.02 to 1.99 for SR2. The main conclusion was that inter-crops increased the SOC accumulation in the 0–10 cm layer of all investigated treatments. It was concluded that different soil tillage systems and inter-crops influenced processes of soil carbon changes and affected OM humification in the soil. The formation of humified carbon compounds should be considered not only as a preservation and improvement of the soil productivity, but also as an environmental assessment of their impact on the soil sustainability and reduction in carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Our results suggest that sustainable tillage and inter-cropping management may contribute to climate mitigation regarding SOC accumulation in soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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20 pages, 2551 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Proximity to Road Traffic on Heavy Metal Accumulation and Enzyme Activity in Urban Soils and Dandelion
by Agata Bartkowiak, Joanna Lemanowicz, Magdalena Rydlewska and Paweł Sowiński
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020812 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 806
Abstract
Urban soils usually comprise a mosaic of various types and usually present with elevated contents of heavy metals. This is due to their long-term accumulation in the soil, which is ensured by the continuous emission of pollutants, including from road traffic. The aim [...] Read more.
Urban soils usually comprise a mosaic of various types and usually present with elevated contents of heavy metals. This is due to their long-term accumulation in the soil, which is ensured by the continuous emission of pollutants, including from road traffic. The aim of this study was to estimate the impact of traffic pollution on the state of the soil environment using a phytoindicator (Teraxacum officinale). The contents of selected heavy metals in the soil and dandelion organs and the activities of selected redox enzymes in the soil in the vicinity of a busy city road were determined. The degree and direction of the movement of heavy metal ions in plants were assessed using the translocation factor (TF) and bioaccumulation factor (BCF). Selected indicators (AF—absorption factor, CF—contamination factor, EF—enrichment factor, PN—Nemerow’s pollution index, PLI—pollutant load index) were used to determine possible heavy metal contamination in soils, and the adaptation mechanisms of dandelion were evaluated by assessing selected enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidising systems. The research results confirmed that the proximity of a busy street reduced the enzymatic activity of the soil and increased the content of heavy metals in the soil and in dandelion. The heavy metal content levels did not exceed the permissible standards for soils in communication areas. The indicators used did not provide a clear answer as to the degree of anthropogenic contamination with individual metals. The higher contents of the metals in question in the above-ground parts of plants suggest that they may be caused by the impact of atmospheric pollution and not by the metal contents in the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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19 pages, 2616 KiB  
Article
Influence of SOM Composition, Clay Minerals, and pH on 2,4-D and MCPA Retention in Peri-Urban Soils
by Irmina Ćwieląg-Piasecka, Magdalena Debicka and Anna Fleszar
Sustainability 2023, 15(16), 12525; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151612525 - 17 Aug 2023
Viewed by 958
Abstract
The use of ionic herbicides in urban and peri-urban areas has serious environmental and health consequences due to their common overapplication and mobility in the soil profile. The specific objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of soil organic matter (SOM) [...] Read more.
The use of ionic herbicides in urban and peri-urban areas has serious environmental and health consequences due to their common overapplication and mobility in the soil profile. The specific objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of soil organic matter (SOM) fractions and clay minerals on the retention of 2,4-D and MCPA on loamy sand and loam topsoil materials under the pH range of 3–7. The results obtained indicate their weak, unfavorable, and physical sorption, presumably governed by partitioning. 2,4-D exhibited high affinity for polar SOM fractions as well as to kaolinite and montmorillonite, both present in the studied peri-urban soils. MCPA sorption was mainly related to soil fulvic (FA) and humic acid (HA) content; however, the pesticide was sorbed to a lesser extent than 2,4-D due to its great water solubility. This was reflected in MCPA’s low Koc values (41.33 and 84.21), indicating its very high mobility and leachability in the studied soils. Meanwhile, 2,4-D was moderately mobile in sandy soil while classified as a non-leacher in the loam topsoil material. Both herbicides were preferably retained at a low soil pH (3–4), which, together with soil amendment with exogenous, well-humified organic matter, could minimize the potential health and environmental risks of their application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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17 pages, 2208 KiB  
Article
Characteristics of Humic Acids in Drained Floodplain Soils in Temperate Climates: A Spectroscopic Study
by Dorota Kawałko, Elżbieta Jamroz, Maria Jerzykiewicz and Irmina Ćwieląg-Piasecka
Sustainability 2023, 15(14), 11417; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151411417 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
This study aims to assess the characteristics of humic acids (HAs) in floodplain soils. HAs were isolated from the Fluvisols located out of the embankment in the riparian forest (unflooded riparian forest) and within the embankment (inter-embankment), in the area periodically flooded. HAs [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess the characteristics of humic acids (HAs) in floodplain soils. HAs were isolated from the Fluvisols located out of the embankment in the riparian forest (unflooded riparian forest) and within the embankment (inter-embankment), in the area periodically flooded. HAs from these soils were examined for quantity, structure, and humification degree using extraction methods as well as elemental analysis, UV-Vis, FTIR, EPR, and 1HNMR spectroscopies. In the soils after drainage, a significant decrease in HAs has been observed compared to the periodically flooded areas. Obtained results showed that organic matter from periodically flooded soils is more humified and contains HAs with a more aromatic, lignin-like structure compared to the humus matter from unflooded Fluvisols. Humic acids from periodically flooded soil contained a lower amount of C and H compared to those isolated from unflooded soils located out of the embankment, which resulted in a less aliphatic or more aromatic character of their molecules. A higher H/C ratio of HAs from the Fluvisols after drainage exhibits more condensed aromatic ring or substituted ring structures in the molecules. Soils with organic matter with a higher humification index contained HAs with lower radical concentration values in comparison to soils with less humified organic matter. Results obtained show that in flooded areas with periodically reductive conditions, humic acids do not lose as many -OCH3 groups as in better oxidized soils and therefore exhibit a lignin-like aromatic structure. It has been proven that the formation and dynamics of HA transformation may vary due to the water regime in soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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18 pages, 4141 KiB  
Article
Response of Cellulose Decomposition and Nodulation in Soils Amended with Biochar for Peri-Urban Agriculture
by Samir A. Haddad, Hossam Abdelmageed, Abdelaziz Saleh, Samia Ahmed, Mohieyeddin M. Abd El-Azeim, Joanna Lemanowicz, Gaber E. Eldesoky and Omar Saad
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10003; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310003 - 24 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1459
Abstract
Peri-urban agriculture is becoming a potential step to promote sustainable and environmental food production systems. Our aim was to study the effect of biochar application at various rates on faba bean growth, cellulose decomposition, nodulation, and selected enzyme activities associated with carbon cycling [...] Read more.
Peri-urban agriculture is becoming a potential step to promote sustainable and environmental food production systems. Our aim was to study the effect of biochar application at various rates on faba bean growth, cellulose decomposition, nodulation, and selected enzyme activities associated with carbon cycling in clay and sandy soils collected from peri-urban agricultural areas near the city of El-Minia, Egypt. To achieve this aim, incubation and pot experiments were conducted under controlled greenhouse conditions using clay and sandy soil. Among the studied treatments, using biochar at the rate of 3 kg/sq·m was the most effective soil amendment followed by biochar at the rate of 2 kg/sq·m. At 60 days of incubation, the count of cellulose-decomposing microorganisms reached a high level in both clay and sandy soil, and then decreased after 90 days, regardless of the biochar rate. The response of the cellulose-decomposer ratio (Fcd/Bcd) was positively correlated with biochar rates and incubation time. The obtained results showed significant increases in fresh and dry weight in clay soil compared to sandy soil. In any case, the use of biochar as a soil amendment enhanced soil health, soil microbial communities, and increased cellulose-decomposing microorganisms, thus improving faba bean nodulation and growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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12 pages, 912 KiB  
Article
Soil Organic Matter Composition in Urban Soils: A Study of Wrocław Agglomeration, SW Poland
by Jakub Bekier, Elżbieta Jamroz, Karolina Walenczak-Bekier and Martyna Uściła
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032277 - 26 Jan 2023
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1887
Abstract
In urban areas, because of anthropopressure, the transformation of the soil cover can lead to the complete destruction of the natural layout and properties of these soils. The object of this study was to determine the quantity and quality of soil organic matter [...] Read more.
In urban areas, because of anthropopressure, the transformation of the soil cover can lead to the complete destruction of the natural layout and properties of these soils. The object of this study was to determine the quantity and quality of soil organic matter (SOM) originating in the topsoil horizons of the central part of Wroclaw (SW of Poland). Fractional composition of SOM and humic substances (HS) analysis were performed. Elemental composition and CP MAS 13C NMR spectra for the humic acids (HA) were determined, and α (aromaticity) and ω (oxidation) ratios were calculated. Total organic carbon content ranged from 22.39 to 66.1 g kg–1, while that of total nitrogen ranged from 2.09 to 4.6 g kg1. In most analysed urban soils, the highest share in SOM was found for residual carbon (CR), while HA of low maturity was the predominant group over FA. CP MAS 13C NMR spectroscopy of HA molecules indicated the structure of the samples was dominated by compounds with low aromaticity cores and considerable contents of aliphatic components. In urban soils, efforts should be made to enhance organic matter transformation into more matured and stable forms via, e.g., compost application and chemical treatments, and lawn maintenance should be very strictly controlled and limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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18 pages, 885 KiB  
Article
Land Use Indicators in the Context of Land Use Efficiency
by Barbara Kalisz, Krystyna Żuk-Gołaszewska, Wioleta Radawiec and Janusz Gołaszewski
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021106 - 6 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3061
Abstract
In recent decades, the land use changes induced by various economic activities in agricultural ecosystems have affected many aspects of human life. This is the reason why land use change is considered as one of the agriculture-related environmental impacts in a sustainability assessment [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the land use changes induced by various economic activities in agricultural ecosystems have affected many aspects of human life. This is the reason why land use change is considered as one of the agriculture-related environmental impacts in a sustainability assessment of food and bio-based products. At the same time, the methodology applied for the quantification of land use change effects is still under intensive research, stimulating scientific discussions. The overall objective of this paper is to fill the gap in knowledge of responsible and sustainable land use management. Specifically, the research provides a comprehensive set of land use change indicators in the context of land use change and land use efficiency. The indicators can be measured based on publicly available databases with the applicability to agricultural sustainability assessment of land use change on a local, regional and global scale. The high share of artificial land and dominant agricultural use of land with low land use intensity were noted in Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Slovenia, Cyprus, Croatia, Finland, Germany, and United Kingdom. However, land use efficiency was also low. In turn, heterogeneous land cover (but less artificial areas than in other EU countries) and heterogeneous land uses with diverse land use intensity were noted in Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden. The challenge in future research could be aggregation of different indicators in assessing the similarity of land use between countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Relationship between Urban Greening, Agriculture and Soil Quality)
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