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Organic carbon hidden in urban ecosystems

Edmondson, Jill L., Davies, Zoe G., McHugh, Nicola, Gaston, Kevin J., Leake, Jonathan R. (2012) Organic carbon hidden in urban ecosystems. Scientific Reports, 2 . p. 963. ISSN 2045-2322. (doi:10.1038/srep00963) (KAR id:37261)


Urbanization is widely presumed to degrade ecosystem services, but empirical evidence is now challenging these assumptions. We report the first city-wide organic carbon (OC) budget for vegetation and soils, including under impervious surfaces. Urban soil OC storage was significantly greater than in regional agricultural land at equivalent soil depths, however there was no significant difference in storage between soils sampled beneath urban greenspaces and impervious surfaces, at equivalent depths. For a typical U.K. city, total OC storage was 17.6 kg m2 across the entire urban area (assuming 0 kg m2 under 15% of land covered by buildings). The majority of OC (82%) was held in soils, with 13% found under impervious surfaces, and 18% stored in vegetation. We reveal that assumptions underpinning current national estimates of ecosystem OC stocks, as required by Kyoto Protocol signatories, are not robust and are likely to have seriously underestimated the contributions of urban areas.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/srep00963
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2013 09:47 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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