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Deposition of air pollution on the bark of urban trees

Grant number: 23/10288-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2023
Effective date (End): June 30, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Giuliano Maselli Locosselli
Grantee:Eduarda Evangelista Pereira
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/08783-0 - Functional forests: biodiversity in the benefit of cities, AP.JP


It is well-known that urban trees provide ecosystem services, among them, reducing air pollution stands out for its important role. Particulate matter and metal therein found in the air can be retained in different tissues of trees, especially in their bark that vary in porosity and roughness according to the species, affecting their ability to accumulate pollutants. However, it is not yet known how the the morphology of the barks of different species influence their ability to retain distinct heavy metals present in the air. Thus, the present work aims to associate the morphology of the bark of ten species of trees with the concentration of airborne metals. To this goal, fragments of bark of the ten most representative native species of the Ibirapuera Municipal Park (São Paulo, SP) will be collected at the periphery of the park, near the roads with the highest traffic, in order to avoid the expected filter effect as it heads into the interior of the park. Then, the morphological will be characterized, including roughness (such as smooth and fistulated barks) and porosity that will be qualitatively and quantitatively characterized, with the aid of scanning microscopy. Finally, the concentration of thirteen different metals in the collected barks will be determined, using the X-ray fluorescence technique. This data will be used to define what characteristics of the barks favor the accumulation of pollutants, and, therefore, the ability of trees to filter the air, which can be applied in a practical way later in urban forestry. This work is part of a research project of Nature-Based Solutions that aims to propose the optimization of ecosystem services of urban forests. It is multidisciplinary project and involves national partnerships with some research institutions in the State of São Paulo, in addition to being part of an International Consortium on Nature-Based Solutions involving countries in South America and Europe.

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