Removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing carbon in vegetation and soil are important ecosystem services provided by urban green space. However, knowledge on the capacity of trees and soils to store carbon in urban parks - especially in the northern latitudes - is scarce. We assessed the amount of organic carbon stored in trees and soil of constructed urban parks under cold climatic conditions in Finland. More specifically, we investigated the effects of management, vegetation type and time since construction on the amount of carbon stored in park trees and soil. We conducted two tree surveys and collected soil samples (0 to 90 cm) in constructed parks managed by the city of Helsinki. The estimated overall carbon density was approximately 130 t per park hectare, when the carbon stock of trees was 22 to 28 t ha-1 and that of soil 104 t ha-1 at the very least. The soil to tree carbon storage ratio varied from 7.1 to 7.5 for vegetated, pervious grounds and from 3.7 to 5.0 for entire park areas. The effects of park management and vegetation type could not be entirely separated in our data, but time was shown to have a distinct, positive effect on tree and soil carbon stocks. The results indicate that park soils can hold remarkable carbon stocks in a cold climate. It also seems that park soil carbon holding capacity largely exceeds that of forested soils in Finland. Preservation and augmentation of carbon stocks in urban parks implies avoidance of drastic tree and soil renovation measures.
- 4112 Skogsvetenskap
- 1172 Miljövetenskap