Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2007 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts


Response of Forest Soil Properties to Urbanization Gradients in Three Metropolitan Areas
 
Pouyat, Richard
Co-Authors: Richard V. Pouyat, Ian D. Yesilonis, Katalin Szlavecz, Csaba Csuzdi, Elizabeth Hornung, Zoltan Korsós, Jonathan Russell-Anelli, Vincent Giorgio
 
Abstract: We investigated the effects of urban environments on the chemical properties of forest soils in the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, New York, and We investigated the effects of urban environments on the chemical properties of forest soils in the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, New York, and Budapest. We hypothesized that soils in forest patches will exhibit similar changes in chemical properties with distance to the urban core and with various urban metrics along urbanization gradients in each city. However, differences in parent material and development pattern among the cities would differentially affect the soil chemical response in each metropolitan area. In all three cities, soil chemical properties varied with distance to the urban core and with various measures of urban land use. Moreover, the results showed that the spatial extent and amount of change was greater in New York than in Baltimore and Budapest for those elements that showed a relationship to the urbanization gradient (Pb, Cu, and to a lesser extent Ca). The spatial relationship of the soil chemical response variables to distance also varied from city to city. In New York, concentrations of Pb, Cu and Ca greatly decreased at approximately 75 km from the urban core. By contrast, concentrations of these elements decreased closer to the urban core in Baltimore and Budapest. Moreover, a threshold was reached at about 75% urban land use above which concentrations of Pb and Cu increased by more than 2-fold relative to concentrations below this threshold. Results of this study suggest that forest soils are responding to urbanization gradients in all three cities, though the nature of each city (spatial pattern of development, parent material, and pollution sources) influenced the soil chemical response.