Air pollution affects tree growth in Sao Paulo | 9/14/2018 | Staff
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As well as causing significant harm to human health, air pollution also stunts the growth of trees, one of the elements that can attenuate this typically urban environmental problem.

Researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil have shown that atmospheric pollutants restrict tree growth and the ecosystem services provided by trees, such as filtering pollution by absorbing airborne metals in their bark, assimilating CO2, reducing the heat island effect by attenuating solar radiation, mitigating stormwater runoff, and controlling humidity.

Study - Results - Journal - Science - Total

The study results have been published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

"We found that in years when levels of particulate matter in the atmosphere were higher, for example, the trees grew less. As a result, they started later in their lives to provide ecosystem services that play an important role in reducing urban pollution and mitigating or adapting the city to climate change," said Giuliano Maselli Locosselli, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of São Paulo's Bioscience Institute (IB-USP) with a scholarship from FAPESP and first author of the study.

Model - Tipuana - Tree - Tipuana - Tipu

Using as a model the tipuana tree (Tipuana tipu), also known as rosewood or tipu, a tall tree with a large spreading canopy and ubiquitous in the city, the researchers measured the impact of air pollution and weather on tree growth in São Paulo. They analyzed samples of 41 tipuanas aged 36 on average and located at different distances from the Capuava industrial estate in Mauá, a municipality in the metropolitan area. Capuava is one of the most industrialized districts in the region, with oil refineries, cement plants and fertilizer factories, as well as heavy truck and car traffic.

Samples were taken from the trees' growth rings using an instrument called a Pressler increment borer, which has a hollow auger bit and is designed to extract a cylindrical section of...
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