Responses of urban vegetation to air pollution stress in relation to their tolerance and sensitivity have been extensively studied, however, studies related to air pollution responses based on different leaf functional traits and tree characteristics are limited. In this paper, we have tried to assess combined and individual effects of major air pollutants PM10 (particulate matter ≤ 10 µm), TSP (total suspended particulate matter), SO2 (sulphur dioxide), NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) and O3 (ozone) on thirteen tropical tree species in relation to fifteen leaf functional traits and different tree characteristics. Stepwise linear regression a general linear modelling approach was used to quantify the pollution response of trees against air pollutants. The study was performed for six successive seasons for two years in three distinct urban areas (traffic, industrial and residential) of Varanasi city in India.At all the study sites, concentrations of air pollutants, specifically PM (particulate matter) and NO2 were above the specified standards. Distinct variations were recorded in all the fifteen leaf functional traits with pollution load. Caesalpinia sappan was identified as most tolerant species followed by Psidium guajava, Dalbergia sissoo and Albizia lebbeck. Stepwise regression analysis identified maximum response of Eucalyptus citriodora and P. guajava to air pollutants explaining overall 59% and 58% variability's in leaf functional traits, respectively. Among leaf functional traits, maximum effect of air pollutants was observed on non-enzymatic antioxidants followed by photosynthetic pigments and leaf water status. Among the pollutants, PM was identified as the major stress factor followed by O3 explaining 47% and 33% variability's in leaf functional traits. Tolerance and pollution response were regulated by different tree characteristics such as height, canopy size, leaf from, texture and nature of tree. Outcomes of this study will help in urban forest development by selection of specific pollutant tolerant tree species and leaf traits, which is suitable as air pollution mitigation measure.
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety – Elsevier
Published: May 15, 2018
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