Ecohydrological model for the quantification of ecosystem services provided by urban street trees

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24 Scopus citations


Urban green spaces have been recognized as an important source of ecosystem services, whose quantification requires the determination of quantities related to energy, water, carbon and soil nutrient content. In this paper we propose a stochastic ecohydrological model that couples two existing models for water and nutrients in urban soil at the single street-tree scale. The model input are rainfall and irrigation, for water, and deposition and fertilization, for nitrogen, while the output are evapotranspiration, runoff and deep percolation, for water, and plant uptake and leaching, for nitrogen. The various terms are related to the amount of paved and impervious surfaces that surround the tree trunk and regulate the water and nutrient fluxes in and out the soil. Particular attention is paid to the effects of seasonal variations on plant water and nutrients through a temporal variation of the hydrologic variables (i.e., temperature and rainfall intensity and frequencies). The average model outputs are preliminarily compared with the scant existing literature data, supporting the model application to cities with different climatic conditions. The model results are used to estimate the potential for ecosystem services like tree cooling effects, soil carbon sequestration or storm-water management. Because of the minimal structure of the proposed model, it requires a very low amount of data, while accounting for the stochastic input of rainfall. In the context of climate change and increasing urbanization, the model may offer useful indications to urban planners to enhance ecosystem services while minimizing irrigation, fertilization and their related costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-504
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies


  • Ecohydrology
  • Ecosystem services
  • Nutrients
  • Pervious-impervious surfaces
  • Seasonality
  • Soil carbon content
  • Soil moisture
  • Street trees
  • Urban green spaces


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