Comparing likely effectiveness of urban nature-based solutions worldwide: the example of riparian tree planting and water quality

Hutchins, Michael ORCID:; Qu, Yueming ORCID:; Seifert-Dahnn, Isabel; Levin, Gregor. 2024 Comparing likely effectiveness of urban nature-based solutions worldwide: the example of riparian tree planting and water quality. Journal of Environmental Management, 351, 119950. 8, pp.

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Amongst a spectrum of benefits, Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are increasingly being advocated as improving the quality of aquatic environments in urban areas. Of these, a widely adopted measure is tree planting. Yet, because of the local complexities and spatial variability of urban hydrological response, it is difficult to predict to what extent improvements in water quality will arise. To overcome this barrier, a standardised approach to process-based model simulation of urban river quality is described (QUESTOR-YARDSTICK (QUESTOR-YS)). The approach eliminates the influence of point sources of pollution and harmonises the way in which river hydrodynamics and contributory catchment size are represented. Thereby, it focuses on differences in water quality between cities due solely to climate, river discharge and urban diffuse nutrient pollution factors. The relative sensitivity to NBS establishment between urban water bodies in different cities anywhere across the world can also potentially be quantified. The method can be readily extended to include wastewater effluents. The validity of the approach is demonstrated for a small river in Birmingham, UK; and thence demonstrated for the case of 10 km of riparian tree planting in Birmingham, Oslo (Norway) and Aarhus (Denmark). Modelling suggests that riparian tree planting can substantially improve water quality in each example city for three key indicators of water quality in sensitive summer conditions (water temperature, chlorophyll-a and dissolved oxygen). Results show the level of benefit achievable in response to a fixed amount of planting will depend on the existing level of riparian tree occupancy.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0301-4797
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: woodland, eutrophication, process-based model, green infrastructure, river
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 03 Jan 2024 09:06 +0 (UTC)

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