Phytoindication assessment of the effect of reconstruction on the light regime of an urban park
AbstractThe ecological restoration of urban parks is used to increase their recreational attractiveness, improve air quality, mitigate urban heat island effects, improve stormwater infiltration, and provide other social and environmental benefits. The dynamics of plant communities after urban forest restoration requires investigation. The study assessed the impact of urban park reconstruction on the state of grass cover, phytoindication of changes in light regime caused by park reconstruction and found out the dependence of reliability of phytoindication assessment on the number of species in the relevant area. The study was conducted in the recreational area of the Botanical Garden of the Oles Honchar Dnipro National University (Ukraine). A tree plantation was created after the Second World War in the location of a natural oak forest. In 2019, a 2.8 ha area of the park was reconstructed. The samples were taken within polygons, two of which were placed in the reconstruction area and two of which were placed in a similar section of the park where no reconstruction was performed. During the reconstruction process, walkways were rebuilt, shrubs were removed, old, damaged trees were removed, and tree crowns were trimmed. Juvenile trees were planted in place of the removed old trees. Old outbuildings, which greatly impaired the aesthetic perception of the park, were also removed. Transport and construction machinery was involved in the reconstruction. A total of 65 plant species were found within the studied polygons. The number of herbaceous species in the park area after reconstruction was higher than without reconstruction. The crown closure in the reconstructed area was significantly lower than that in the untreated conditions. The phytoindication assessment showed that the light regime varies from the conditions suitable for the scyophytes (plants of typical foliage forests) to the conditions suitable for the sub-heliophytes (plants of light forests and shrubberies, or high herbaceous communities; lower layers are in the shade). The light regime in the park area after reconstruction was statistically significantly different from the regime in the untreated park area. The lighting regime after the reconstruction was favourable to sub-heliophytes, and without reconstruction the regime favoured hemi-scyophytes. Tree canopy crown closure negatively correlated with grass height and herbaceous layer projective cover. The tree canopy crown closure, grass height, and herbaceous layer projective cover were able to explain 86% of the phytoindication assessment of the lighting regime variation. These parameters negatively affected the light regime. The prospect of further research is to investigate the dependence of indicative reliability of the assessment of other environmental factors with the help of phytoindication depending on the number of species. In addition to the indication of traditional ecological factors it is of particular interest to clarify the aspect of the dynamics of hemeroby indicators as a result of park reconstruction.
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