New paper published – Urban plant physiology: adaptation-mitigation strategies under permanent stress

Text by Lauri Laanisto

Continuing with the papers from last year that slipped under the radar. This one did not actually slip sensu stricto. I knew about it and I´ve read it and there was plan to blog about it. And this is where the slip happened…

Anyhow, the angle of this paper is interesting. While there are humongous number of climate warming experiments going on in the labs and fields all over the world, one of the smartest ways how to build infrastructure representing “future climate” conditions would be to work in a city environment. Couple of degrees warmer than the surrounding areas, more chemistry in the air, different soil conditions, almost no natural buffer zones left – this is the future of our landscapes (well, at least in the first world countries). Why not use these environments for mapping the life´s reactions to such conditions. This approach is especially suitable for (eco)physiological studies as in this case the responses are more easily comparable with the measurements done in more natural areas – the intricacy of complex ecological background can be omitted from such studies (which, of course, is not the best option, but that is the topic of another review paper, which hopefully will be out soon…).

Full citation: Calfapietra, C., Peñuelas, J., & Niinemets, Ü. (2015). Urban plant physiology: adaptation-mitigation strategies under permanent stress. Trends in plant science, 20(2), 72-75. (link to full text)


Potential urban field experiment? The roof of Chicago´s City hall (pic from here)


Urban environments that are stressful for plant function and growth will become increasingly widespread in future. In this opinion article, we define the concept of ‘urban plant physiology’, which focuses on plant responses and long term adaptations to urban conditions and on the capacity of urban vegetation to mitigate environmental hazards in urbanized settings such as air and soil pollution. Use of appropriate control treatments would allow for studies in urban environments to be comparable to expensive manipulative experiments. In this opinion article, we propose to couple two approaches, based either on environmental gradients or manipulated gradients, to develop the concept of urban plant physiology for assessing how single or multiple environmental factors affect the key environmental services provided by urban forests.

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One Response to New paper published – Urban plant physiology: adaptation-mitigation strategies under permanent stress

  1. Pingback: New paper published – Functional traits of urban trees: air pollution mitigation potential | Ülo Niinemets’ Lab

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