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J Environ Qual. 2017 May;46(3):687-694. doi: 10.2134/jeq2016.11.0461.

Nematode Community Response to Green Infrastructure Design in a Semiarid City.


Urbanization affects ecosystem function and environmental quality through shifts in ecosystem fluxes that are brought on by features of the built environment. Green infrastructure (GI) has been suggested as a best management practice (BMP) to address urban hydrologic and ecological impacts of the built environment, but GI practice has only been studied from a limited set of climatic conditions and disciplinary approaches. Here, we evaluate GI features in a semiarid city from the perspective of soil ecology through the application of soil nematode community analysis. This study was conducted to investigate soil ecological interactions in small-scale GI as a means of assessing curb-cut rain garden basin design in a semiarid city. We looked at the choice of mulching approaches (organic vs. rock) and how this design choice affects the soil ecology of rain basins in Tucson, AZ. We sampled soils during the monsoon rain season and assessed the soil nematode community as a bioindicator of soil quality and biogeochemical processes. We found that the use of organic mulch in GI basins promotes enhanced soil organic matter contents and larger nematode populations. Nematode community indices point to enhanced food web structure in streetscape rain garden basins that are mulched with organic material. Results from this study suggest that soil management practices for GI can help promote ecological interactions and ecosystem services in urban ecosystems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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