Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2007 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Spatial and Temporal Variation of Soil Properties and Processes in Urban Landscapes
Pouyat, Richard
Co-Authors: R.V. Pouyat, P.M. Groffman, K. Szlavecz, I.D. Yesilonis, and Q. Holifield
Abstract: Urbanization affects soils and biogeochemical cycles directly through disturbance and management (e.g., irrigation), and indirectly through changes in the environment (e.g., heat island effect and pollution) to form a mosaic of soil conditions. We utilized the urban mosaic to conduct a series of "natural experiments" to investigate and compare the direct and indirect effects of urbanization on soil properties and biogeochemical responses at neighborhood, citywide, and metropolitan scales. In addition, we compared these results to those obtained from other metropolitan areas to assess the effects at regional and global scales and to assess the generality of these results. From these investigations we conclude that 1) urban effects on soils occur at multiple scales, 2) management effects are greater then environment effects, 3) urban landscapes are biologically active in pervious areas (nitrogen and carbon dynamics) and have a high potential for carbon and nitrogen storage, 4) the importance of urban and native factors depend on the property being measured, and 5) city comparisons support the urban ecosystem convergence hypothesis. Finally, we will discuss the need for future research from both a theoretical and practical approach, including the development of functional interpretations of urban soils with respect to water, carbon, and nitrogen dynamics and the development of soil indices that can be used to characterize urban soils at various spatial and temporal scales.