Evaluation of the growth, adaption, and ecosystem services of two potentially-introduced urban tree species in Guangzhou under drought stress

Sci Rep. 2023 Mar 2;13(1):3563. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-30782-x.


Under rapid urbanization and agglomeration of population, cities are facing various environmental challenges. As urban forests play a crucial role in mitigating native environmental problems and providing ecosystem services, cities might enhance their urban forest construction through multiple approaches, of which the introduction of exotic tree species could be an effective way. Under the background of constructing a high-quality forest city, Guangzhou was considering introducing a series of exotic tree species to improve the local urban greening, among which Tilia cordata Mill. and Tilia tomentosa Moench became the potential objects. As Guangzhou was reported to experience higher temperatures with less precipitation and face drought events with increasing frequency and intensity, whether the two tree species could survive in the dry environment required to be investigated profoundly. Thus, we launched a drought-simulation experiment and measured their above- and below-ground growth in 2020. In addition, their ecosystem services were also simulated and evaluated for their future adaption. Furthermore, a congeneric native tree species Tilia miqueliana Maxim was also measured in the same experiment as a comparison. Our results showed that Tilia miqueliana exhibited moderate patterns of growth and advantages in evapotranspiration and cooling. Besides, its investment in root development at horizontal level could account for its special strategy against drought stress. Tilia tomentosa’s vigorous root growth could be the most positive behavior of coping with water deficit, which explained its maintenance of carbon fixation and implied a well adaption. Tilia cordata showed a complete decrease in above- and below-ground growth, especially for its fine root biomass. In addition, its ecosystem services were significantly reduced, reflecting a comprehensive failure when it faced a long-term scarcity of water. Therefore, it was necessary to supply sufficient water and under-ground space for their living in Guangzhou, especially for Tilia cordata. In the future, long-time observation of their growth under different stresses can be practical approaches to amplify their multiple ecosystem services.

PMID:36864292 | PMC:PMC9981607 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-023-30782-x


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