Estimating Air Pollution Removal Through an Analysis of Vegetation Communities in Government Canyon State Natural Area

Date

2017

Authors

Medrano, Nicolas W.

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Abstract

Ambient air pollution is a major issue in urban environments, causing negative health impacts and increasing costs for metropolitan economies. Vegetation has been shown to remove these pollutants at a substantial rate. This study utilizes the i-Tree Eco (UFORE) and i-Tree Canopy models to estimate air pollution removal services provided by trees in Government Canyon State Natural Area (GCSNA), an approximately 4,700 hectare area in San Antonio, Texas. For i-Tree Eco, a stratified project of the five prominent vegetation types was completed. A comparison of removal services provided by vegetation communities indicated there was no significant difference in removal rates. Total pollution removal of GCSNA was estimated to be 239.52 metric tons/year at a rate of 64.42 kg/ha of tree cover/year. By applying this value to the area within Bexar County, Texas belonging to the Balcones Canyonlands ecoregion, it was determined that for 2013 an estimated 2,598.45 metric tons/year of air pollution was removed at a health value to society of $19.4 million. This is a reduction in pollution removal services since 2003, in which 3,050.35 metric tons/year were removed at a health value of $22.8 million. These results suggest urban sprawl taking place in San Antonio is reducing air pollution removal services provided by trees.

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Keywords

Ozone, Texas, UFORE

Citation

Department

Integrative Biology