2020 Urban Research Award: Effects of Greenspace Structure on Urban Tree Health and Human Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter: A Biogeochemical Analysis and Exposure Assessment

PI: Jenna Rindy, MS, PhD Student, Department of Biology, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and BU URBAN Program
Co-PIs: Pamela Templer, PhD, Department of Biology, College of Arts & Sciences and Director of BU URBAN Program; Kevin Lane, PhD, MA, Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health; and  Lucy Hutyra, PhD, MA, Department of Earth & Environment, College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Director of BU URBAN Program

Photo of Jenna Rindy
Jenna Rindy
photo of Pamela Templer
Pamela Templer

Air pollution in urban areas, such as particulate matter emitted from vehicular and industrial activity, has negative effects on vegetation and human health. To encourage reductions in air pollution in urban areas, many cities have increased vegetation through tree planting campaigns, which has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease prevalence and mortality of humans. In this study, the investigators will compare particulate matter concentrations in the atmosphere, rates of atmospheric deposition of particulate matter to leaves, and foliar damage in open fields, forest edges, and forest interiors along an urbanization gradient from Boston to central Massachusetts.

photo of Lucy Hutyra
Lucy Hutyra
photo of Kevin Lane
Kevin Lane

The goal of this study is to determine how greenspace structure affects air quality and the ability for vegetation to mitigate its effects. The investigators will also conduct an exposure assessment study to model air pollution exposure differences based on proximity to greenspace and greenspace structure. Results of this study will provide a deeper understanding of the role of vegetation in reducing air pollution in cities and how that pollution affects the health of both plants and humans.