Structure and diversity in a periurban forest of Bucharest, Romania
AbstractMitigating the adverse effects of climate change and worldwide urbanization is one of the main tasks of local authorities and city managers. As a long-term solution, urban and periurban forests have the potential to mitigate the impacts of climate change by providing ecosystem services such as removing air pollutants, mitigating the urban heat islands, storing carbon, regulating local climate, limiting the risk of flooding, reducing noise levels, and improving the physical and mental health of citizens and their welfare. To promote, conserve, and enhance the benefits offered by the periurban forests, it is needed to adequately describe the forest ecosystems state, and understand well their structure and functionality. The objective of this study was to investigate the structure, diversity, and health status of one of the main periurban forest in Bucharest. In 2015 and 2020, biophysical measurements (diameter at breast height, total height, wood quality, cenotic class) and assessments of forest health status were conducted in a permanent sample monitoring network (PSMN). This PSMN consists of 46 sample plots located in the periurban Stefănești forest near Bucharest, Romania. The calculation included tree characteristics and stand volumes, while the tree species diversity was characterized using the Shannon (H) and Gini (G) indexes. Our study confirmed that higher diversity indexes of tree species and variability amongst the biometric characteristics at forest stand level sustain ecosystem resilience and adaptability to climate change, simultaneously bolstering their capacity to provide various ecosystem services. The gained insights are critical in helping forest managers, policymakers, and any stakeholders in the effort to evaluate and model the ecosystem services.
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