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Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Forestry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2022) | Viewed by 12591

Special Issue Editors

Key Laboratory of Wetland Ecology and Environment, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
Interests: urban forest; urban biodiverstiy; ecological function; landscape multifunction; remote sensing
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
College of Landscape Architecture, Changchun University, Changchun 130022, Jilin, China
Interests: urban biodiversity; forest ecology; carbon cycling; ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
1. School of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Shandong University of Technology, Zibo 255000, China
2. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
Interests: urban ecology; urban climatology; ecosystem services; urban green infrastructure; remote sensing; land use change
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang 110016, Liaoning, China
Interests: ecosystem services; landscape ecology; urban forest; sustainable development; balance of supply and demand; spatio-temporal variation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During the process of rapid urbanization, many serious environmental problems have arisen, such as air pollutants, urban heat islands, and urban water logging, which present a combined threat to urban residents’ health and wellbeing. Urban forests are of great benefit to the people in their vicinity, and urban residents can find nourishment, clean water, and shelter, as well as jobs and a sense of social purpose, in urban forests. In addition, with increased life and work stress, exposure to urban forests reduces morbidities such as anxiety, sickness, and heat stress, and this improves the wellbeing of urban residents, especially disadvantaged groups. On the road to urban sustainable development, urban forests contribute to multiple aspects of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as No Poverty, Good Health and Well-Being, Clean Water and Sanitation, Climate Action, Life on Land, and Sustainable Cities and Communities. Due to gaps in our knowledge about the supply and demand of ecosystem services provided by urban forests, the full potential of urban forests to improve urban residents’ wellbeing sustainably is not well understood. These issues have led to discussions and debates about whether urban forests can sustainably ensure the well-being of urban residents. Besides, the quantity and quality of urban forests may decline during the urbanization process. In particular, the demand for ecosystem services of urban forests is likely to rise because of a growing urban population. Therefore, how to improve urban forests’ ecological services and meet the needs of sustainable urban residents’ wellbeing are also being brought into the focus of urban ecological research. Comprehensive studies and new methodologies are needed to assess the structure, biodiversity, and ecological functions  of urban forests and their impact on human wellbeing.

The Editors of this Special Issue encourage submissions addressing, but not limited to, the following topics and issues:

(1) The relationship between urban forests and human wellbeing

(2) The sustainability of the provision of urban forest ecosystem services

(3) The demand for urban forest ecosystem services by residents and changes therein

(4) The multi-functionality of urban forest landscapes and its implications

(5) The impact of urbanization on urban forests’ structure and biodiversity

(6) The pathway to advance Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on urban forests

We are pleased to propose a Special Issue, entitled Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being, that is focused on the structure, biodiversity, and ecological function of urban forests and their impact on human wellbeing. This is an appropriate opportunity to communicate with the researchers who work on urban forest ecology and enhance our current knowledge about urban forests and sustainable wellbeing. We kindly invite you to submit a manuscript focused on any of the above topics. If you are interested in this Special Issue or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Dr. Zhibin Ren
Dr. Dan Zhang
Dr. Chaobin Yang
Dr. Jing Yao
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.

Keywords

  • urban forest structrure
  • urban biodiversity
  • urban green infrastructure
  • urban heat island
  • ecosystem services
  • sampling quadrats
  • vegetation index
  • park cool island (PCI)
  • sustainable development

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 5852 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution and Driving Factors of Old and Notable Trees in a Fast-Developing City, Northeast China
by Yibo Yang, Guangdao Bao, Dan Zhang and Chang Zhai
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7937; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137937 - 29 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1566
Abstract
As a symbol of urban civilization and history, old and notable trees (ONTs) are facing challenges brought by rapid urbanization. Changchun is the fastest growing city in Northeast China, and throughout its development process of over 100 years it has preserved many ONTs. [...] Read more.
As a symbol of urban civilization and history, old and notable trees (ONTs) are facing challenges brought by rapid urbanization. Changchun is the fastest growing city in Northeast China, and throughout its development process of over 100 years it has preserved many ONTs. This study investigated all the ONTs in Changchun, and analyzed the species diversity, spatial distribution characteristics, dimension, age, and health status of trees by using ecological index and mathematical statistics, and trying to find out the underlying factors regulating their distribution. The results showed that there were 773 old trees belonging to 25 species and 2 notable trees from 1 species in Changchun. Pyrus ussuriensis was the dominant species, followed by Salix matsudana and Ulmus pumila. The urban area, population density, greening rate, and construction history did not influence the species and quantity of ONTs, while the types of land use and tree protection planning were important factors affecting the richness, diversity, and growth conditions of trees. To explore the potential reasons for their existence, the ONTs’ data in Changchun was compared with two nearby cities—Harbin and Shenyang. The comparison indicated that the geographical location and climatic conditions also controlled the distribution of ONTs. The number and dimensions of trees were driven by the history and development process of the city. Our findings suggested that preserving favorable living environments and maintaining a low intensity of human disturbance are critical factors for the survival of ONTs in cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being)
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16 pages, 2399 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Urban Woody Plant Diversity among Different Administrative Districts and the Enhancement Strategy in Changchun City, China
by Yufei Chang, Zihan Wang, Dan Zhang, Yao Fu, Chang Zhai, Tong Wang, Yihan Yang and Junjie Wu
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7624; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137624 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1769
Abstract
Species diversity plays an important role in urban ecosystem stability and sustainability. Research on woody plant diversity among different administrative districts is vital to effectively improving urban biodiversity. In this study, a stratified random sampling method was used to set the sample plot, [...] Read more.
Species diversity plays an important role in urban ecosystem stability and sustainability. Research on woody plant diversity among different administrative districts is vital to effectively improving urban biodiversity. In this study, a stratified random sampling method was used to set the sample plot, a spatial mapping of the diversity indices was conducted, and methods of principal component analysis and similarity analysis were used to analyze the species composition and dissimilarity among different administration districts. Finally, the model based on the relationship between the diversity indices and forest landscape pattern indices was built. The results showed that woody plant species diversity differed significantly among different administrative districts in Changchun. The species diversity levels in the Qikai (QK), Lvyuan (LY), and Kuancheng (KC) districts were higher, and those in the Nanguan (NG) and Erdao (ED) districts were lower. The species composition of every district basically complied with the 10/20/30 “rule of thumb”. The most common species, genera, and families in urban forests should not exceed the proportion of the total abundance of all species. There was a significant correlation between the diversity indices and the forest landscape indices of each district. The Margalef index (dMa) and the Shannon–Wiener index (H′) decreased significantly while CONTIG-MN increased, and increased significantly while LSI increased. Species evenness index J decreased significantly while LPI increased, and increased significantly while DIVISION increased. In future tree species selection, native tree species should be given priority as much as possible, the planting of Salicaceae should be reduced, and the species diversity of each district should be increased. Chaoyang (CY), ED, and LY districts should strengthen the links between forest patches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being)
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13 pages, 3338 KiB  
Article
Exploring Transiency in Four Urban Forest Patch Neighborhoods: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
by Cassandra Johnson Gaither, Denzell A. Cross and G. Rebecca Dobbs
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7220; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127220 - 13 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1519
Abstract
This exploratory study begins to unpack the association between involuntary neighborhood transiency (i.e., forced household moves) and civic environmental stewardship, focusing on four neighborhoods adjacent to urban forest patches in the City of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The patches emerged on the sites of [...] Read more.
This exploratory study begins to unpack the association between involuntary neighborhood transiency (i.e., forced household moves) and civic environmental stewardship, focusing on four neighborhoods adjacent to urban forest patches in the City of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The patches emerged on the sites of former public housing communities after the city razed housing projects in the first decade of the 2000s. Given intense competition for city land, e.g., affordable housing needs versus greenspace preservation, we might expect neighborhood-level inquiry regarding plans for these properties; however, there is no indication of popular interest in the sites. We suggest that such engagement is inhibited, in part, by involuntary neighborhood transiency as the neighborhoods surrounding the patches are inhabited mostly by low-income African American renters, a highly transient population. This is the first phase of a study that will eventually examine the association between transiency and greenspace civic engagement. In this exploratory step, we examine involuntary neighborhood transiency as an a priori social condition that necessarily influences people’s engagement with urban greenspaces. Building on input from community members, research by Stephanie DeLuca and colleagues, and Matthew Desmond’s work on evictions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we operationalize transiency in terms of Housing Choice Voucher units and eviction rate to assess the extent to which these indicators localize in the four urban patch neighborhoods. A geospatial cluster analysis indicated that both measures concentrate in the neighborhoods adjacent to the forest patches, and they are positively associated. Given these associations, we recommend further research examining how various forms of involuntary moving may ultimately inhibit civic environmental stewardship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being)
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22 pages, 4477 KiB  
Article
Interpolated Stand Properties of Urban Forest Parks Account for Posted Facial Expressions of Visitors
by Fei Yu, Jianfeng Deng, Xiaogang Ding and Hongyan Ma
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3817; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14073817 - 24 Mar 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1687
Abstract
Posted facial expressions on social networks have been used as a gauge to assess the emotional perceptions of urban forest visitors. This approach may be limited by the randomness of visitor numbers and park locations, which may not be accounted for by the [...] Read more.
Posted facial expressions on social networks have been used as a gauge to assess the emotional perceptions of urban forest visitors. This approach may be limited by the randomness of visitor numbers and park locations, which may not be accounted for by the range of data in local tree inventories. Spatial interpolation can be used to predict stand characteristics and detect their relationship with posted facial expressions. Shaoguan was used as the study area where a tree inventory was used to extract data from 74 forest stands (each sized 30 m × 20 m), in which the range was increased by interpolating the stand characteristics of another 12 urban forest parks. Visitors smiled more in parks in regions with a high population or a large built-up area, where trees had strong trunks and dense canopies. People who displayed sad faces were more likely to visit parks located in regions of hilly mountains or farmlands, where soils had a greater total nitrogen concentration and organic matter. Our study illustrates a successful case in using data from a local tree inventory to predict stand characteristics of forest parks that attracted frequent visits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being)
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14 pages, 1768 KiB  
Article
Microclimates Potentially Shape Spatial Distribution of Facial Expressions for Urban Forest Visitors: A Regional Study of 30 Parks in North China
by Bin Mao, Fang Liang, Zhaozhong Li and Wenqing Zheng
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031648 - 31 Jan 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2413
Abstract
Promotion of mental well-being is a desired goal of service in sustainable urban forest management. Microclimate is impacted by forest settings which makes ecosystem services perceived by users. Changes of regional meteorological factors drive responses of emotional perceptions as spatial distribution pattern in [...] Read more.
Promotion of mental well-being is a desired goal of service in sustainable urban forest management. Microclimate is impacted by forest settings which makes ecosystem services perceived by users. Changes of regional meteorological factors drive responses of emotional perceptions as spatial distribution pattern in accordance with regional urban forest landscapes. In this study, we collected a total of 1422 pairs of happy and sad scores for visitors in 30 urban parks around Shanxi province in North China, where local meteorological were obtained specially for each location as daily matched records. Happy expression scores increased along a latitudinal gradient from south to north. Microclimate did not have any relationship with emotional expressions, but factors of rainfall, wind velocity, average temperature, and relative humidity all had potential contributions to shape distributions of happy and sad scores. The relationship between meteorological records of wind velocity and average temperature and their potential contributions to happy scores can be described by quadratic polynomial functions. Overall, we recommend an environment of urban parks that can optimize emotional well-being with environments of wind velocity of 5.36 m s−1 and average temperature of 6.05 °C in cities around Shanxi in North China. Therefore, microclimates can shape the regional distributions of urban forest ecosystem services of promoting mental well-being, in a way as implicit drivers instead of explicit forces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being)
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12 pages, 3194 KiB  
Article
Cadmium Uptake and Growth Responses of Seven Urban Flowering Plants: Hyperaccumulator or Bioindicator?
by Zhouli Liu, Mengdi Chen, Maosen Lin, Qinglin Chen, Qingxuan Lu, Jing Yao and Xingyuan He
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020619 - 6 Jan 2022
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2027
Abstract
The application of flowering plants is the basis of urban forest construction. A newly-found flowering hyperaccumulator is crucial for remediating urban contaminated soil sustainably by cadmium (Cd). This study evaluated growth responses, Cd uptake and bioaccumulation characteristics of seven urban flowering plants. Based [...] Read more.
The application of flowering plants is the basis of urban forest construction. A newly-found flowering hyperaccumulator is crucial for remediating urban contaminated soil sustainably by cadmium (Cd). This study evaluated growth responses, Cd uptake and bioaccumulation characteristics of seven urban flowering plants. Based on growth responses of these plants, Calendula officinalis L. showed high tolerance to at least 100 mg kg−1 Cd, in terms of significant increase in biomass and with no obvious changes in height. After 60 d exposure to 100 mg kg−1 Cd, the accumulated Cd in shoots of the plant reached 279.51 ± 13.67 μg g−1 DW, which is above the critical value defined for a hyperaccumulator (100 μg g−1 DW for Cd). Meanwhile, the plant could accumulate Cd to as much as 926.68 ± 29.11 μg g−1 DW in root and 1206.19 ± 23.06 μg g−1 DW in plant, and had higher Cd uptake and bioaccumulation values. According to these traits, it is shown that Calendula officinalis L. can become a potential Cd-hyperaccumulator for phytoremediation. By contrast, Dianthus caryophyllus L. is very sensitive to Cd stress in terms of significantly decreased biomass, height and Cd uptake, indicating the plant is considered as a Cd-bioindicator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Forests and Sustainable Urban Residents’ Well-Being)
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