Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Urban Trees Enhance Water Infiltration

21.11.2008
The management of stormwater in urban areas is often focused on restoring the hydrologic cycle disrupted by extensive pavement and compacted urban soils, but now a group of researchers have been investigating innovative ways to maximize the potential of trees to address stormwater. The development of structural soil reservoirs may provide new opportunities for meeting engineering, environmental, and greenspace management needs in urban areas.

Global land use patterns and increasing pressures on water resources demand creative urban stormwater management. Traditional stormwater management focuses on regulating the flow of runoff to waterways, but generally does little to restore the hydrologic cycle disrupted by extensive pavement and compacted urban soils with low permeability.

The lack of infiltration opportunities affects groundwater recharge and has negative repercussions on water quality downstream. Researchers know that urban forests, like rural forest land, can play a pivotal role in stormwater mitigation, but developing approaches that exploit the ability of trees to handle stormwater is difficult in highly built city cores or in urban sprawl where asphalt can be the dominant cover feature.

A group of researchers from Virginia Tech, Cornell, and University of California at Davis have been investigating innovative ways to maximize the potential of trees to address stormwater in a series of studies supported by the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Grants Program. The results of the studies were published in the November-December issue of the Journal of Environmental Quality.

Virginia Tech scientists used two container experiments to establish that urban tree roots have the potential to penetrate compacted subsoils and increase infiltration rates in reservoirs being used to store stormwater. In one study, roots of both black oak and red maple trees penetrated clay loam soil compacted to 1.6 g cm-3, increasing infiltration rates by an average of 153%.

In another experiment, researchers created a small-scale version of the stormwater best management practice (BMP) under study by the three universities. This BMP includes a below-pavement stormwater detention reservoir constructed of structural soil. Structural soils are engineered mixes designed to both support pavement loads and simultaneously provide rooting space for trees. In this study, green ash trees increased the average infiltration rate by 27 fold compared with unplanted controls. In the experiment, a structural soil reservoir (CUSoil, Amereq Corp., New York) was separated from compacted clay loam subsoil (1.6 g cm‑3) by a woven geotextile in 102-liter containers. The roots of ash trees planted in the structural soil penetrated both the geotextile and the subsoil within two years.

“Although we observed many roots penetrating the geotextile, roots really proliferated where there was a slight tear in the fabric,” said Susan Day, the project’s lead investigator. “Manipulating root penetration through these separation geotextiles could potentially play a large role in bioretention system function and design, especially since the potentially saturated soils beneath detention reservoirs may have reduced soil strength, increasing opportunities for root growth by some species.”

Structural soil reservoirs may thus provide new opportunities for meeting engineering, environmental, and greenspace management needs in urban areas. Further research is needed on the effects of tree roots and detention time on water quality in structural soils. Monitoring continues at four demonstration sites around the country and updated information is posted as it becomes available at http://www.cnr.vt.edu/urbanforestry/stormwater.

The full article is available for no charge for 30 days following the date of this summary. View the abstract at http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/37/6/2048.

The Journal of Environmental Quality, http://jeq.scijournals.org is a peer-reviewed, international journal of environmental quality in natural and agricultural ecosystems published six times a year by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA). The Journal of Environmental Quality covers various aspects of anthropogenic impacts on the environment, including terrestrial, atmospheric, and aquatic systems.

The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) www.agronomy.org, is a scientific society helping its 8,000+ members advance the disciplines and practices of agronomy by supporting professional growth and science policy initiatives, and by providing quality, research-based publications and a variety of member services.

Sara Uttech | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.agronomy.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells

19.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>