OJF  Vol.5 No.1 , January 2015
Woody Vegetation and Soil Characteristics of Residential Forest Patches and Open Spaces along an Urban-to-Rural Gradient
Abstract: As the process of urbanization advances across the country, so does the importance of urban forests, which include both trees and the soils in which they grow. Soil microbial biomass, which plays a critical role in nutrient transformation in urban ecosystems, is affected by factors such as soil type and the availability of water, carbon, and nitrogen. The aim of this study was to characterize residual forest patches and open fields in residential areas in the City of Knoxville. A field study was conducted to investigate tree species diversity and determine spatial and temporal soil characteristics along an urban-to-rural gradient. Tree diversity did not differ significantly for residential urban and rural plots in Knoxville, Tennessee. Biologically, there was no indication that soils were affected by tree diversity, in terms of soil microbial biomass C/N along an urban-to-rural gradient in Knoxville residential plots. Rural soils did differ physically from urban soils, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and soil moisture content (GSM). Similarly, physical soil properties such as bulk density, both urban and rural sites were negatively correlated with tree diversity. Results indicate that although the urban-rural gradient is subject to urban environmental stressors, the urban ecosystem is resilient in maintaining the ecosystem functions of more natural systems.
Cite this paper: Reichert, B. , Jean-Philippe, S. , Oswalt, C. , Franklin, J. and Radosevich, M. (2015) Woody Vegetation and Soil Characteristics of Residential Forest Patches and Open Spaces along an Urban-to-Rural Gradient. Open Journal of Forestry, 5, 90-104. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2015.51010.

[1]   Alig, R. J., & Plantinga, A. J. (2004). Future Forestland Area: Impacts from Population Growth and Other Factors That Affect Land Values. Journal of Forestry, 102, 19-24.

[2]   Aon, M. A., Sarena, D. E., Burgos, J. L., & Cortassa, S. (2001). Microbiological, Chemical and Physical Properties of Soils Subjected to Conventional or No-Tillage Management: An Assessment of Their Quality Status. Soil Till Resources, 60, 173-186.

[3]   Baumgartl, Th. (1998). Physical Soil Properties in Specific Fields of Application Especially in Anthropogenic Soils. Soil Till Resources, 47, 51-59.

[4]   Beck, T., Joergensen, R. G., Kandeler, E., Makeschin, F., Nuss, E., Oberholzer, H. R., & Scheu, S. (1997). An Inter-Laboratory Comparison of Ten Different Ways of Measuring Soil Microbial Biomass C. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 29, 1023-1032.

[5]   Brookes, P. C., Landman, A., Pruden, G., & Jenkinson, D. S. (1985). Chloroform Fumigation and the Release of Soil Nitrogen: A Rapid Direct Extraction Method to Measure Microbial Biomass Nitrogen in Soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 17, 837-842.

[6]   Certini, G. (2005). Effects of Fire on Properties of Forest Soils: A Review. Oecologia, 143, 1-10.

[7]   Chapman, H. D. (1965). Cation-Exchange Capacity. P. 891-901. In C. A. Black et al. (Eds.), Methods of Soil Analysis, Chemical and Microbiological Properties (pp. 891-901). Madison, WI: ASA.

[8]   Craul, P. J. (1999). Urban Soils: Applications and Practices. New York: Wiley.

[9]   Curtis, J. T., & McIntosh, R. P. (1951). An Upland Forest Continuum in the Prairie-Forest Border Region of Wisconsin. Ecology, 31, 476-496.

[10]   Deaderick, L. (1976). Heart of the Valley: A History of Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville, TN: The East Tennessee Historical Society.

[11]   Dick, R. P. (1994). Soil Enzyme Activities as Indicators of Soil Quality. In Defining Soil Quality for a Sustainable Environment (pp. 107-124). Madison, WI: SSSA, Special Publication No. 35.

[12]   Dwyer, J. F., Nowak, D. J., Noble, M. H., & Sisinni, S. M. (2000). Assessing Our Nation’s Urban Forest: Connecting People with Ecosystems in the 21st Century. General Technical Report PNW-490, Portland, OR: USDA Forest Service.

[13]   Fierer, N., Schimel, J. P., & Holden, P. A. (2003). Variations in Microbial Community Composition through Two Soil Depth Profiles. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 35, 167-176.

[14]   Fisk, M. C., & Fahey, T. J. (2001). Microbial Biomass and Nitrogen Cycling Responses to Fertilization and Litter Removal in Young Northern Hardwood Forests. Biogeochemistry, 53, 201-223.

[15]   Girvan, M. S., Bullimor, J., Pretty, J. N., Osborn, A. M., & Ball, A. S. (2003). Soil Type Is the Primary Determinant of the Composition of the Total and Active Bacterial Communities in Arable Soils. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 69, 1800-1809.

[16]   Groffman, P. M., Pouyat, R. V., McDonnell, M. J., Pickett, S. T. A., & Zipperer, W. C. (1995). Carbon Pools and Trace Gas Fluxed in Urban Forest Soils. In R. Lat, J. Kimble, E. Levine, & B. A. Steward (Eds.), Advances in Soil Science, Soil Management and Greenhouse Effect (pp. 147-158). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Inc.

[17]   Hampson, P. S., Treece Jr., M. W., Johnson, G. C., Ahlstedt, S. A., & Connell, J. F. (2000). Water Quality in the Upper Tennessee River Basin, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia 1994-98.

[18]   Hart, S. C., Stark, J. M., Davidson, E. A., & Firestone, M. K. (1994). Nitrogen Mineralization, Immobilization, and Nitrification. In R. V. Weaver et al. (Eds.), Methods of Soil Analysis, Part 2, SSA Book Series 5 (pp. 985-1018). Madison, WI: SSSA.

[19]   Hartgrove, N. R. (2004). Soil Survey of Knox County, Tennessee (pp. 1-3). Washington DC: Natural Resources Conservation Service.

[20]   Ibekwe, A. M., Watt, P. M., Grieve, C. M., Sharma, V. K., & Lyons, S. R. (2002). Multiplex Fluorgenic Real-Time PCR for Detection and Quantification of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Dairy Wastewater Wetlands. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68, 4853-4862.

[21]   Jenkinson, D. S., & Ladd, J. N. (1981). Microbial Biomass in Soil: Measurement and Turnover. In E. A. Paul, & J. N. Ladd (Ed.), Soil Biochemistry (Vol. 5, pp. 415-471).

[22]   Jim, C. Y. (1998). Soil Characteristics and Management in an Urban Park in Hong Kong. Environmental Management, 22, 683-695.

[23]   Kent, M., & Coker, P. (1992). Vegetation Description and Analysis: A Practical Approach (pp. 167-169). New York: John Wiley and Sons.

[24]   Knoxville and Knox County Planning Commission (1988). The Future of Our Past: Historic Sites Survey and Cultural Resources Plan for Knoxville and Knox County Tennessee. Knoxville, Tenn: The Commission.

[25]   Larson, W. E., & Pierce, F. J. (1994). The Dynamics of Soil Quality as a Measure of Sustainable Management, In Defining Soil Quality for a Sustainable Environment. SSSA Special Publication 35, Soil Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy, 37-51.

[26]   McKinney, M. (2008). Effects of Urbanization on Species Richness: A Review of Plants and Animals. Urban Ecosystems, 11, 161-176.

[27]   Neary, D., Klopatek, C., DeBano, L., & Ffolliott, P. (1999). Fire Effects on Belowground Sustainability: A Review and Synthesis. Forest Ecology and Management, 122, 51-71.

[28]   Nowak, D. J. (2002). The Effects of Urban Trees on Air Quality. USDA Forest Service.

[29]   Nowak, D. J., & Greenfield, E. J. (2012). Tree and Impervious Cover Change in U.S. Cities. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 11, 21-30.

[30]   Nowak, D. J., Cumming, A. B., Twardus, D., Hoehn III, R. E., Oswalt, C. M., & Brandeis, J. T. (2011). Urban Forests of Tennessee, 2009. General Technical Report SRS-149, Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station.

[31]   Nowak, D. J., Hoehn, R. E., Crane, D. E., Stevens, J. C., & Walton, J. T. (2006a). Assessing Urban Forest Effects and Values. USDA Forest Service.

[32]   Ohya, H., Fujiwara, S., Komai, Y., & Yamaguchi, M. (1988). Microbial Biomass and Activity in Urban Soils Contaminated with Zn and Pb. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 6, 9-13.

[33]   Patterson, J. C., Murray, J. J., & Short, J. R. (1980). The Impact of Urban Soils on Vegetation. METRIA: 3, Proceedings of the Third Conference of the Metropolitan Tree Improvement Alliance, Rutgers, New Brunswick, 18-20 June 1980.

[34]   Pickett, S. T. A., Cadenasso, M. L., Grove, J. M., Boone, C. G., Goffman, P. M., Irwin, E., Kaushal, S. S., Marshall, V., McGrath, B. P., Nilon, C. H., Pouyat, R. V., Szlavecz, K., Troy, A., & Warren, P. (2001). Urban Ecological Systems: Scientific Foundations and a Decade of Progress. Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 331-362.

[35]   Porter, E. E., Forschner, B. R., & Blair, R. B. (2001). Woody Vegetation and Canopy Fragmentation along a Forest-to-Urban Gradient. Urban Ecosystems, 5, 131-151.

[36]   Pouyat, R. V., & Effland, W. R. (1999). The Investigation and Classification of Humanly Modified Soils in the Baltimore Ecosystem Study. In J. M. Kimble, R. J. Ahrens, & R. B. Bryant (Eds.), Classification, Correlation, and Management of Anthropogenic Soils (pp. 141-154). Lincoln, NE: USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center.

[37]   Pouyat, R. V., & McDonnell, M. J. (1991). Heavy Metal Accumulation in Forest Soils along an Urban-Rural Gradient in Southeastern New York, USA. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 57-58, 797-807.

[38]   Pouyat, R. V., Szlavecz, K., Yesilonis, I. D., Groffman, P. M., & Schwarz, K. (2010). Chemical, Physical and Biological Characteristics of Urban Soils. Urban Ecosystem Ecology, 55, 119-151.

[39]   Pouyat, R. V., Yesilonis, I. D., Russell-Anelli, J., & Neerchal, N. K. (2007). Soil Chemical and Physical Properties that Differentiate Urban Land-Use and Cover Types. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 71, 1010-1019.

[40]   Pouyat, R., Groffman, P., Yesilonis, I., & Hernandez, L. (2002). Soil Carbon Pools and Fluxes in Urban Ecosystems. Environmental Pollution, 116, S107-S118.

[41]   Raciti, S. M., Groffman, P. M., & Fahey, T. J. (2008). Nitrogen Retention in Urban Lawns and Forests. Ecological Society of America. Ecological Applications, 18, 1615-1626.

[42]   Riemann, R. (2003). Pilot Inventory of FIA Plots Traditionally Called “Nonforest”. General Technical Report NE-312, Newton Square, PA: USD A Northeastern Research Station.

[43]   Scharenbroch, B. C., Lloyd, J. E., & Johnson-Maynard, J. L. (2005). Distinguishing Urban Soils with Physical, Chemical, and Biological Properties. Pedobiologia, 49, 283-296.

[44]   Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. (1949). The Mathematical Theory of Communication (pp. 1-117). Urbana, IL: The University of Illinois Press.

[45]   Short, J. R., Fanning, D. S., Foss, J. E., & Patterson, J. C. (1986a). Soils of the Mall in Washington DC: I. Statistical Summary of Properties. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 50, 699-705.

[46]   Singh, J. S., Raghubanshi, A. S., Singh, R. S., & Srivastava, S. C. (1989). Microbial Biomass Acts as a Source of Plant Nutrients in Dry Tropical Forest and Savanna. Nature, 338, 499-500.

[47]   Totsche, K. U., Rennert, T., Gerzabek, M. H., Kogel-Knabner, I., Smalla, K., Spiteller, M., & Vogel, H. J. (2009). Biogeochemical Interfaces in Soil: The Interdisciplinary Challenge for Soil Science. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 173, 88-99.

[48]   Wang, M., Markert, B., Shen, W., Chen, W., Peng, C., & Ouyang, Z. (2011). Microbial Biomass Carbon and Enzyme Activities of Urban Soils in Beijing. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 18, 958-967.

[49]   Yuangen, Y., Campbell, C. D., Clark, L., Cameron, C. M., & Paterson, E. (2006). Microbial Indicators of Heavy Metal Contamination in Urban and Rural Soils. Chemosphere, 63, 1942-1952.

[50]   Zak, D. R., Holmes, W. E., White, D. C., Peacock, A. D., & Tilman, D. (2003). Plant Diversity: Soil Microbial Communities and Ecosystem Function, Are There Any Links? Ecology, 84, 2042-2050.

[51]   Zhu, W. X., & Carreiro, M. M. (2004). Temporal and Spatial Variations in Nitrogen Transformations in Deciduous Forest Ecosystems along an Urban-Rural Gradient. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 36, 267-278.