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Globalisation and urbanisation are driving the worldwide homogenisation of urban landscapes. The flora and fauna of cities in different parts of the world are very similar, irrespective of geography and climate. One of the most powerful symbols of modern urban landscapes is the lawn. There are just a few management options for urban lawns, regardless of how they are used and where in the city they are situated. Today, lawns occupy much of the green open spaces in cities (70-75%) and are located in private front and rear gardens, public parks, cemeteries, golf courses and along roads. Most people in the Western world view lawns as a ‘natural’ and even compulsory element of the urban landscape, without questioning their social, symbolic, ecological or aesthetic values. In this article we discuss the conceptual framework and methodological approaches being used in an ongoing transdisciplinary collaboration project including stakeholders to study lawns in Sweden as a social and ecological phenomenon. The overall aim is to understand the role of lawns in sustainable urban planning, design and management. The transdisciplinary approach allows us to exchange knowledge between scientific disciplines in order to influence the studies within each subject throughout the project and to achieve a multi-dimensional understanding of the lawn as a phenomenon. The involvement and close collaboration of stakeholders in the project allows us to obtain first-hand information on planning issues connected to lawns and existing planning data from cities and to focus on true implementation aspects rather than just theoretical recommendations.
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Accepted Manuscript
Title: Lawn as a cultural and ecological phenomenon: A
conceptual framework for transdisciplinary research
Author: Maria Ignatieva Karin Ahrn´
orgen Wissman Tuula
Eriksson Pernilla Tid˚
aker Marcus Hedblom Thomas K¨
akan Marstorp Per Berg Tom Eriksson Jan Bengtsson
PII: S1618-8667(15)00043-6
Reference: UFUG 25529
To appear in:
Received date: 9-12-2014
Revised date: 7-3-2015
Accepted date: 4-4-2015
Please cite this article as: Ignatieva, M., Ahrn´
e, K., Wissman, J., Eriksson,
T. , Ti d ˚
aker, P., Hedblom, M., K¨
atterer, T., Marstorp, H., Berg, P., Eriksson,
T., Bengtsson, J.,Lawn as a cultural and ecological phenomenon: A conceptual
framework for transdisciplinary research, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening (2015),
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Accepted Manuscript
Ms. Ref. No.: UFUG-D-14-002801Title: Lawn as a cultural and ecological phenomenon: A conceptual framework for transdisciplinary
2research Urban Forestry & Urban Greening3
 Lawn is the most powerful symbol of global modern urban landscapes
 We discuss concept and methodology of ongoing transdisciplinary project in Sweden
 Importance of researching social, symbolic, ecological and aesthetic values if lawns
 Opportunities for lawns in sustainable urban planning, design and management
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Lawn as a cultural and ecological phenomenon: A conceptual 11 framework for transdisciplinary research
Maria Ignatievaa,*, Karin Ahrnéa, Jörgen Wissmana, Tuula Erikssona, Pernilla Tidåkerb,
Marcus Hedbloma, Thomas Kätterera, Håkan Marstorpa, Per Berga, Tom Erikssona, Jan
aSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 7012, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
bSwedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, PO Box 7033
19 S-750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
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Globalisation and urbanisation are the major drivers of the worldwide
homogenisation of urban landscapes. The flora and fauna of cities in different parts of the
world are strikingly similar, despite geographical and climate differences (McKinney, 2006;
Muller and Werner, 2010). In most of the Western world, urban landscapes have been
influenced and shaped by the same landscape few architectural approaches, namely French
formal, English Picturesque and Victorian Gardenesque and, in the 20th and 21st century,
Modernism (Ignatieva, 2010). One of the most powerful symbols of these landscape
architectural approaches, and thus of modern urban landscapes, is the lawn. Only a few
management options have been adopted for urban lawns, regardless of how they are used and
where in the city they are situated.
The use of lawns in our modern society is seen as a product of our life style (Giddens
1990). Today, lawns cover a significant part of all green open spaces in cities (up to 70-75%).
They can be found in private gardens and public parks, cemeteries, golf courses and along
roads. Most people of the Western world view lawns as a ‘natural’ and even as compulsory
element of the urban landscape, without questioning their social, ecological or aesthetic values
(Stewart et al., 2009).
There is a common positive view of lawns as functional and accessible areas in parks,
playgrounds and private gardens. Lawns often have symbolic value and people enjoy them
(see, hear, smell etc.), although they may be not permitted to enter or use the lawn area. The
However, the intensive management practices used on lawns, such as frequent mowing and
spraying of herbicides and fertilisers, has raised awareness about their potential negative
impact on the urban environment. All previous research on urban biotopes has shown that
lawns are strikingly similar in terms of plant species composition and, in their modern
expression, are important contributors to the homogenisation of urban landscapes and loss of
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urban biodiversity (Ignatieva, 2012). Most grasses used for lawns are varieties originating
from the same few nurseries or seed mixtures, creating habitats that have no equivalent within
the native environment. In the US, 23% of the entire urban land area is estimated to be
covered by lawns (Robbins and Birkenholtz, 2003), 62 000 tons of pesticides are used by
homeowners each year and 1.5 billion cubic metres of municipal water are used for irrigation 51
of lawns each summer day. In Sweden too, lawns cover large areas of public courtyards, parks,
golf courses, sports fields and traffic environments.
Like everywhere else in the Western world, lawns in Sweden are widely advertised
by urban planners, landscape architects, developers and mass media as a very useful
consumer product for the market. In the present project we regard lawns as specially
constructed plant communities with a domination of a limited number of grass and 57
herbaceous species which are densely planted and depend on a special management regime
(regular mowing). The lawn is designed for social (sport and recreation), historical,
aesthetical and cultural purposes (viewing, picnicking, playing golf and football, walking).
There are intensively managed lawns (frequently cut short) which we call “conventional” and
less-frequently cut lawns which are “meadow-like lawns”. The latter lawns are closer to 62
natural grassland in the sense that they are mowed and had bigger number of species. The
environmental impact of lawns largely depends on the intensity of management (Cameron et
al., 2012). If fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides are used, the surrounding surface water and
groundwater may be affected. Bolund and Hunhammar (1999) present six major groups of 66
important urban ecosystem services: air filtering, micro-climate regulation, noise reduction,
rainwater drainage, sewage treatment and recreational/cultural values. Out of these six, the
one where lawns are most important is the rainwater drainage. In vegetation-free cities, up to
60% of the rain water ends up as surface runoff. In areas with a permeable surface, such as a
lawn, only 5-15% of the rain water becomes surface runoff, whereas the rest evaporates or 71
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infiltrates into the ground providing important soil-moisture for trees and other vegetation that
further contributes to many of the abovementioned ecosystem services.
Although lawns may have positive effects on the environment, e.g. through carbon
sequestration in soil (Qian et al., 2010; Zirkle et al., 2011), the total effect on the environment
may be negated by the frequent use of mowers powered by fossil fuels. Lawns in general
could also serve as a habitat for grassland fauna, including bees and butterflies that utilise 77
urban environments (Ahrné et al., 2009; Ockinger et al., 2009; Matteson and Langellotto,
2010). Despite the important role of lawns in the urban landscape, there are few
comprehensive studies including their social, ecological, cultural, historical and symbolic
values, as well as their management and overall environmental impact. Most existing studies
have been conducted in Europe, the US and New Zealand, where lawns are causing problems 82
with invasive species because most lawn grasses originate from Europe (Müller, 1990;
Thompson et al., 2004; Stewart et al., 2009). In urban planning and policy documents, the
emphasis is often placed on sustainable planning and the importance of promoting ecosystem
services, but since these scopes are inherently complex, they are difficult to implement in
practice. In order to provide urban planners with valuable information on how this could be 87
achieved, one way could be to focus on a major urban green element, for example lawn, and
study it from different scientific perspectives in collaboration with practitioners. However,
this calls for interdisciplinary projects.
Transdisciplinary research on lawns91
Here, we describe the conceptual framework and methodological approaches of an
ongoing project on lawns. The project is a transdisciplinary collaboration including
stakeholders. The main research question”What is the phenomenon of lawn in
Sweden? ”involves studying lawns from different perspectives. The overall aim is to
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understand the role of lawns in sustainable urban planning, design and management.
Ecological knowledge, social values and norms influence the management of urban green
areas (Andersson et al., 2007) and may thus influence their biodiversity, environmental
impact and the ecosystem services they provide. Without understanding the social motives
behind the strong attachment of modern Western society to lawns, introducing potential 101
alternative solutions and changing conventional management routines can be difficult. The
transdisciplinary approach allows us to exchange knowledge between scientific disciplines in
order to influence the studies within each subject throughout the project and to achieve a
multi-dimensional understanding of the lawn as a phenomenon. The involvement and close
collaboration of stakeholders in the project allows us to get first-hand information on planning 106
obstacles relating to lawns and existing planning data from cities, and to focus on true
implementation aspects and not just theoretical recommendations.
To frame the project, we are using a multiscale approach and studying lawns from
different perspectives: from the large scale including the entire city (estimating the total
coverage of lawn as a land use type) through the medium neighbourhood level (providing 111
typology, coverage of lawns, their functions, values and use in parks or backyards) to the fine
level of the lawn itself, with emphasis on biotope characteristics such as biodiversity and
carbon sequestration. The study areas were chosen within dominant typologies of
neighbourhood areas in Sweden, multi-storey housing areas and residential private houses.
The pioneering character of our research is emphasised by the broad perspective, including 116
qualitative studies of social, cultural and historical values and a number of classical
quantitative biological studies (biodiversity of plants, pollinators and decomposers, and
carbon balance), as well as design considerations. All these aspects are being synthesised to
assess the environmental impact of lawns and their importance for ecosystem services in three
Swedish cities. Another very important part of this interdisciplinary research project is the 121
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involvement of urban planning and design dimensions, with practical output for practitioners
and decision makers who are formulating and implementing municipal policies.
More specifically, the aim of the project is to obtain interdisciplinary quantitative and
qualitative data on lawns which will allow us to estimate the values of different lawns and
draw conclusions about their negative and positive environmental impacts in our modern 126
cities. Our ambition is not to avoid or prohibit lawn as a phenomenon, but to critically analyse
it, connect it to people’s needs and suggest a new planning, design and management paradigm.
Specific objectives of the project are:
To classify and identify main types of lawns and their current management practices
To estimate the proportion of lawns related to other green and blue areas in the city, such 131
as forests, agricultural land and water bodies
To understand the motives for decisions about the establishment and management of
lawns among different stakeholders
To examine historical and social roots, perceptions, norms and aesthetic, symbolic and
design values of current management practices of lawns136
 To understand the role of lawns in urban hydrology and water management
To analyse the environmental impact (energy use and carbon footprint) and biodiversity
(plants, bumblebees, butterflies and earthworms) of lawns
To identify how to establish and manage lawns so as to promote their provision of
ecosystem services in cities (e.g. pollination), while simultaneously reducing their 141
environmental impact and addressing people’s needs.
To study how different human interests and values interact (or conflict) from a
management perspective and how to find sustainable planning and design solutions.
We will deliver the results directly to stakeholders by providing an urban greening
manual, demonstration sites and different management packages for municipalities and 146
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communities with recommendations on how to design, establish and manage sustainable
Research framework and methodology149
We aimed to have a spatial overlap in choice of sites among research disciplines, but
at the same time to create a model that can be relevant for answering questions within 152
different fields (Fig. 1). The first few months were specifically dedicated by participants to
creating an understanding of each other’s disciplines and perspectives. Another important part
of the approach was to establish stakeholder and focus groups involving local municipality
experts. A special role was given to a scientific focus group that consisted of leading
international and local experts on lawns, including an expert in plant-pollinator interactions, a 157
horticultural scientist, an expert in grass-free lawn and a sociologist. We also involved non-
academic participants such as different stakeholders in the project.
The quantitative methods used in natural sciences with replicate samples and
reproducible research layouts are also being combined with quantitative and qualitative161
methods employed in social science, using interviews and surveys based on estimations and 162
stakeholder values. These in turn are being combined with case study methods used in
planning science, where unique cases are studied with method triangulation for validating the
results (Yin, 1995).
The process of choosing the case studies for field work was directly correlated with 166
three historical and cultural peculiarities that dominate Swedish urban planning structure.
Multi-family residential housing neighbourhoods with significant amounts of lawn area are
the most common typology in Swedish cities. We also included a category of Swedish private
houses (detached housing with private gardens). There are about 2 million such detached
houses in Sweden, making private houseowners an important stakeholder group with 171
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potentially a wide range of views and motives for planning, nurturing and maintaining their
private lawns (Lundgren, 2001; Berg, 2004).
We chose three case study cities, situated in the south (Malmö, 280 000 inhabitants),
east (Gothenburg, 530 000 inhabitants) and west (Uppsala, 200 000 inhabitants) of Sweden, in
order to cover differences in climate conditions and local culture. Within each city, three 176
types of lawns were identified for study: 1) residential lawns in private (detached house)
gardens; 2) utility lawns (common conventional, frequently mowed lawns); and 3) meadow-
like lawns in multi-family residential housing areas (cut only a few times a year). Utility
(conventional) and meadow-like lawns are two main classes differing in management
intensity that have been adopted by all Swedish municipalities. The classification of lawns is 181
mostly based on the management intensity (including frequency of cutting, using herbicides
and pesticides). Usually there is also one more type of lawns, the parterre lawn, which has the
highest management intensity. Parterre lawns are uncommon in Sweden. Instead we included
golf courses with lawn types ranging from very intensively managed tees and greens, to
fairways with intermediate management intensity and roughs with the lowest management 186
intensity. Golf courses are also included because of their more intensive use of purchased
inputs, and because of their potential for more sustainable management by providing habitats
for grassland species (Colding and Folke, 2009).
For calculating the percentage of the lawn coverage in the case study cities, we
decided to use existing data obtained by LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), a remote 191
sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analysing
the reflected light, complemented with stakeholder knowledge of current managed areas.
As carbon balance studies are labour-intensive, we decided to limit our detailed
research to three lawn types differing in management intensity (utility and meadow-like lawns
in multi-storey residential areas and golf courses). We researched only ‘mature’ lawns, i.e. at 196
least 10 years old.
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Methodological approach
Social, cultural and historical research199
In view of the complexity and novelty of this transdisciplinary research project,
during the first year we carried out a pilot study to test the suggested methodology and to
establish contacts with keynote stakeholders. For the social, cultural and historical research,
we looked at the origin and history of lawns worldwide and particularly in Sweden (we 203
visited sites of alternative lawns in Europe), motives behind management and establishment
of different types of lawns, characteristics of Swedish lawns and the perception among people
of different types of lawns, the origin of seed mixes and the peculiarities of planning, design
and management practices for lawns. The methodology included: 1) A literature review and
archive survey; 2) questionnaires on management and choice of plant material, targeting 208
stakeholders (who plan and manage the specific lawns), people living in multifamily houses
and golf players; 3) interviews with private gardeners, public planners, decision makers,
politicians, landscape architects and horticulturalists to obtain information concerning their
vision, planning, management and perception of lawns; 4) observational studies on how
frequently and for what activities the selected lawns are utilised; and 5) surveys: short 213
interviews with lawn visitors to get an idea of how lawns are perceived and utilised. In the
social science part of the study we also integrated some questions from other teams. One of
the most challenging parts of the methodology was to put together and integrate different
studies (sub-projects).217
Biodiversity and environmental impact218
Biodiversity and environmental impacts of differently managed lawns being studied
are species diversity and composition of plants, bees, butterflies and earthworms, energy use
and carbon footprint. Carbon sequestration is being modelled, as is the balance between
sequestration and emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), including hidden carbon costs (GHG 222
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emissions associated with production of mineral fertilisers, pesticides, mowing etc.) in the
different lawn types.
Within each of the three cities, we surveyed three replicates of each of the public
lawn types (utility and meadow-like lawns) in six multi-storey housing areas. We also
surveyed three management types (fairway, rough and high rough) at six holes in two golf 227
courses per city. At all study sites, all species of vascular plants were recorded (vegetative
cover and counts of reproductive parts) within small plots (0.5 m × 0.5 m). We also recorded
the amount of flowers or fruits produced, as this is important for the connection between
plants and pollinators. Species richness and abundance of bumblebees and butterflies, as well
as number of flowers visited by the pollinators, were noted in larger plots (3 m × 3 m). In 232
these plots we also estimated total number of flowers. The survey of all plots and points was
conducted on two occasions during the flying season to include plants with different
flowering periods and pollinators with different flight periods. We focused on the grass
surface, but also estimated the availability of flowering plants within a larger distance from
the inventory plots, e.g. in flowerbeds. Since the organisms studied may also be influenced by 237
the surrounding urban landscape, we included GIS analyses of the landscape at a larger scale,
examining landscape composition and connectivity among grasslands.
Soils were sampled and organic carbon and nitrogen concentrations, soil bulk density
and roots determined. Carbon sequestration is calculated using the Introductory Carbon
Balance Model (ICBM model) (Andrén and Kätterer, 1997). Input to the model is the lawn 242
biomass production and climate data (temperature and precipitation). Above-ground lawn
biomass is determined through manual cutting of sub-plots within each of the two lawn types
and the golf courses. The cutting frequency mimics the management practice used on the
particular lawn type. Root biomass production estimation is based on shoot/root ratios
obtained in earlier calibrations of the ICBM model (Kätterer et al., 2011), as are other model 247
parameters such as stabilisation coefficient and rate constants for degradation.
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The energy use and emissions of GHG are being assessed in a life cycle perspective,
i.e. including all relevant activities in the management chain, from production of e.g.
purchased inputs to disposal according to a standardised ISO procedure. The energy use
related to the management of different lawn types such as irrigation, mowing and fertilization
is being investigated through interviews and questionnaire surveys of stakeholders, combined 253
with a literature search, and divided into different energy sources. In addition to CO2
emissions related to the management, nitrous oxide emissions both from production of
nitrogen mineral fertiliser and soil are estimated and carbon sequestration is modelled using
the ICBM model. Earthworms are important for soil conditions and soil fertility and are being
sampled in Uppsala using the mustard extraction technique at all biodiversity sites (Pelosi et 258
al, 2009).
Alternative design260
In the first year we established a demonstration trail representing different
experimental sites of alternative lawns at Ultuna Campus, Uppsala, as an important
educational facility for academics as well as public communities. For example, these sites 264
contain plant communities suitable for bumblebees and butterflies, as well as meadow plants
suited for wet and dry conditions. This work relies heavily on active participation and
consultation within the focus and stakeholder groups and is based on exchange of scientific
and practical information from leading European scientists and Swedish practitioners working 268
with sustainable lawns.
The final year of the project is intended for critical evaluation of existing design,
establishment and management practices of conventional lawns in Swedish cities and their
economic, social and environmental effectiveness. We have also decided to analyse existing
European sustainable alternatives to conventional lawns, such as meadow lawns (established 273
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from biodiverse mixtures (up to 25-30 species of different grass and herbaceous species),
grass-free lawns (made by using specific mowing tolerant plants instead of grass, (Smith and
Fellowes) and pictorial lawns (made from annual decorative plants) (Hitchmough, 2009) and
their appropriateness of using in Swedish cities. The economic and environmental benefits of
such alternative lawns have been actively discussed in recent years. The final stage of this 278
project will result in suggestions of different practical design solutions for planning, design
and establishment techniques as well as management schemes for different types of lawns in
all three case study cities. We are not necessarily against the conventional lawns but call for
critical evaluation and suggestion of wiser resource use in the urban environment.
Initial results and implications for future research283
The involvement of different disciplines and of stakeholders is the strength of this
project, but also makes it complex. It took time and a lot of effort in the beginning to
understand how to combine the methodologies from different disciplines and adapt them to
collective goals and objectives. Series of joint meetings, reading each other’s articles,
collecting background information, building networks and creating a database of local 289
contacts were essential starting points for the project. Stakeholder and focus group meetings
identified an urgent need for lawn research. All municipal managers are very supportive as
well because they understand the necessity of changing the current costly and unsustainable
management paradigm. However, due to the complex character of Swedish home ownership 293
and management practice (many owners and contractors are involved in maintenance and
management), the process of obtaining data was not an easy task and took a longer time than
The pilot study in the first year worked well and by the end of first season the
methodological approaches in all packages had been adjusted and in some cases significantly 298
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changed. For example, we found out that in a large city such as Gothenburg, it would be very
time-consuming (costly) to manually interpret the coverage of all lawns using orthophotos. In
the pilot study we tried to use normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) and infra-red-
spectra to estimate the area of grass in Gothenburg. However, we found that the NDVI was
not capable of capturing vegetation in shaded areas and it was also difficult to distinguish 303
grass from trees and other vegetation, thus making it less usable. Moreover, not all cities have
red spectra in their aerial photos. Using existing LiDAR data proved to be the best method of
estimating total grassland cover. In Sweden there is national coverage of LiDAR data, and in
addition some cities (e.g. Gothenburg and Uppsala) have their own LiDAR with higher
resolution. We used the municipal management maps of grasslands as references when 308
interpreting the intensity in the LiDAR data.
In the social survey, the questionnaires for lawn visitors and managers/politicians
were changed several times until they were worked effectively. Establishment of a website
and demonstration trail were effective visualisation and popularisation tools and attracted the
attention of stakeholders and the public at large. Some municipalities would like to establish 313
new larger demonstration sites in botanic or community gardens.
Working with an interdisciplinary approach initially needed numerous physical
meetings (as well as reading of selected articles from each of the disciplines) to understand
the intentions of other participants for the project, identify possible synergies and be able to
cooperate. It was also important to understand that in such projects aiming at both a broader 318
and a detailed perspective, there will be compromises within each of the scientific subjects
and they might not be able to perform as detailed studies as they would like.
For the success of the research aim to use the knowledge gained in the project and
implement it on the ground, it is crucial to have close collaboration with stakeholders and let
them be part of the research planning process. Only informing stakeholders about main results 323
in a fact sheet or a scientific paper is not sufficient if sustainable development is to be
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implemented: closer meetings and mutual understanding during the scientific process are
necessary. We plan to continue working closely with stakeholders. Our final goal is to
influence and even change the attitude towards lawns among professionals and the public.
This study was funded by Formas, the Swedish Research Council for Environment, 329
Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (225-2012-1369). We thank Na Xiu for improving
the figure 1 and Fredrik Eriksson for valuable advices on social part.
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diversity of temperate urban lawns in Christchurch. Urban Ecosystems 12, 233-248.
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409 Fig. 1. Components of the transdisciplinary project on lawns. The four main areas overlap
greatly in terms of research questions, interactions and, spatially, field sampling.
... Numerous ecosystem services provided by urban soils are tied to urban vegetation (Ignatieva et al., 2015;Derkzen et al., 2015;Lal & Stewart, 2017;Onandia et al., 2019;O'Riordan, 2021). In contemporary cities, the so-called urban grasslands are an important type of urban vegetation (Ignatieva et al., 2015). ...
... Numerous ecosystem services provided by urban soils are tied to urban vegetation (Ignatieva et al., 2015;Derkzen et al., 2015;Lal & Stewart, 2017;Onandia et al., 2019;O'Riordan, 2021). In contemporary cities, the so-called urban grasslands are an important type of urban vegetation (Ignatieva et al., 2015). Traditional urban lawns are defined as patches of turf-type grasses that coalesce spatially into a distinct vegetation type (Thompson & Kao-Kniffin, 2017). ...
... Recently, due to the appreciation of the ecosystem services delivered by different forms of vegetation, urban grasslands are considered more broadly, encompassing meadows and lawns in domestic gardens, parks, vacant land, remnants of rural landscapes, and areas along transportation corridors (Onandia et al., 2019), including even non-grassy vegetation (Ignatieva & Hedblom, 2018;Smith et al., 2015). Many ecosystem services delivered by urban grassland are related to their biodiversity (Onandia et al., 2019;Thompson & Kao-Kniffin, 2017), and the structure of the vegetation is strongly shaped by human activities, such as fertilization level, mowing frequency, irrigation, trampling, and disturbance (Ignatieva et al., 2015;Ignatieva & Hedblom, 2018). As a result, the vegetation in a city center can differ from that in the peripheries (Deák et al., 2016;Vega & Küffer, 2021). ...
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Urban soils with associated vegetation are important components of urban ecosystems, providing multiple regulating and supporting ecosystem services. This study aimed to analyze the differences in the soil chemistry and vegetation of urban grasslands considering urbanization gradient and urban grassland type (UGT). We hypothesized that the chemical properties of soil, such as metal content, as well as vegetation traits, differ according to grassland type (lawns, grasslands in parks, grasslands on river embankments, and roadsides) and the location of grassland patches (city center versus peripheries). Our samples included 94 UGT patches which each patch represented by four square sampling plots sized 1 m². The results showed high differentiation of measured traits unrelated to UGT and location. The exception was K content, with a relatively high concentration in lawns, and some metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, Zn), with higher concentrations in the city center than in the peripheries. We found two grassland patches located in the city center where the concentrations of Pb, Zn, and Cu exceeded the level authorized by Polish standards. In the case of vegetation traits, the variability was not structured considering the UGT and location of the patches, except for bare soil cover, which was higher in lawns in the city center compared to embankments in the peripheries. We observed correlations between vegetation traits and soil chemical properties. The vascular plant species richness decreased when N, P, and C content, along with an increase in grass cover and a decrease in herbs. Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10661-023-11210-z.
... Turf grasses are the heart of garden and the centre for social life (Jenkins, 1994;Maria, 2015; De, L. C 2017) [18,26,11] . As any sports fan will agree, player performance depends in large part on the quality of turf surface and all these considerations largely depends on three turf characteristics: traction, hardness and evenness (Puhalla et al., 1999) [36] . ...
... Turf grasses are the heart of garden and the centre for social life (Jenkins, 1994;Maria, 2015; De, L. C 2017) [18,26,11] . As any sports fan will agree, player performance depends in large part on the quality of turf surface and all these considerations largely depends on three turf characteristics: traction, hardness and evenness (Puhalla et al., 1999) [36] . ...
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Turf grasses are the crops which has huge economic value in outdoor sports and recreations. It is very unbearable to imagine many of the sports games without a green carpet of grasses. Many of the front-line sports like golf, football, cricket, rugby, baseball, tennis, hockey, lacrosse, croquet, lawn bowling etc. are played on grass courts. Grasses reduces the risk of injury, while playing by acting as a natural cushion. Grasses play a vital role in providing better locomotory movements to the players, and smooth ball role characteristics. The quality of the game is always influenced by the height, texture, firmness and growth habit of the grasses. Selection of grasses and its maintenance is of prime importance.
... The importance of non-native plants as components of urban green spaces directly reflects how people appreciate them for aesthetical and other reasons (Lindemann-Matthies 2016; Vaz et al. 2018). Urban lawns in cities outside Europe, for example, are often dominated by formerly sown European grassland species (Fischer et al. 2016) which support an array of cultural services associated with lawns (Ignatieva et al. 2015). In South African settlements, non-native species are frequently used as food resource and for other uses (Shackleton & Mograbi 2020), and non-native tree species support a range of regulating services in cities in the U.S. (Kim 2016;Riley et al. 2018). ...
Urbanization processes are associated with a range of human activities that enhance the spread and establishment of non-native species. As a consequence, non-native plant species play a significant role in urban regions today, and their importance will continue to increase as urbanization accelerates worldwide. The invasion of non-native plants in urban areas is associated with risks and opportunities, both of which must be considered. Some non-native plant species can affect native species and trigger ecosystem disservices. On the other hand, introduced species are often well adapted to novel urban conditions and support a variety of ecosystem services in cities. The contrasting example of Cape Town and Berlin shows that invasion patterns and associated impacts cannot be generalized. It is thus a crucial task of future research to explore urban invasions and their detrimental, beneficial or neutral consequences in different biogeographical contexts. This would inform management approaches and priority setting in urban environmental policies.
... Globalizing cities such as Bengaluru are a hub of economic activities that are spatially distributed to form contemporary urban landscapes that include well-maintained lawn spaces (Stallmeyer 2006). In spite of lawns being a common urban green space in cities around the world, most studies, till now, have focused on lawns in the Global North (Ignatieva et al. 2015). In the cities of the Global South such as Bengaluru, lawns have been an understudied component of urban green space (Dutt 2017). ...
The impact of the interaction between socio-economic and political processes with natural ecosystems and the built environment has been well captured by the urban metabolism framework in recent decades. In this concept, cities are equated to living organisms in terms of the consumption of natural resources and the excretion of waste products. This concept refers to cities as biological entities having internal processes continuously exchange matter and energy with their surrounding environment in order to grow. The growth pattern induced by metabolic processes may be uneven spatially and socio-economically. Master plans were prepared by the concerned authorities to control such uneven development. However, as these metabolic processes diverged, the impact was on natural resources such as vegetation, temperature, and water bodies. This chapter analyzes the changes that are seen in vegetation patterns in Bengaluru. The results showed that the metabolic processes of the city transformed vegetation to a large extent spatially. There was either a shrinking or proliferation of green cover converting the indigenous greenery to fast-growing varieties during different phases of urbanization. Resource-intensive lawns became important in corporate and residential landscaping. Finally, these changes in vegetation invariably affected temperature patterns, also showing an interconnection between these natural elements.KeywordsIT phaseLawnsSpatialUnevenUrban metabolismVegetation
... For Ignatieva et al. (2015) the lawn is one of the most powerful symbols within a given architectural and landscape approaches in urban landscapes, however it is necessary studies that allow the proper use of these lawns so that they can sustainably promote ecosystem services in cities. Given the above, the objective was to evaluate the performance of thermal and optical properties measurements of paspalum in a simulated modular green roof in a tropical environment. ...
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The objective was to evaluate the use of thermal and optical properties measurements in the characterization of the genus Paspalum for use on green roofs in a tropical environment. The experiment was conducted at the Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco – UFRPE from May to June 2019. The number of sixteen Paspalum accessions with prostrate and upright growth habits was evaluated. In a simulated modular green roof were evaluated: Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI); leaf (L) and canopy (C) temperature by thermometry (TM); and by thermography (TG). The determination coefficient (R2) between SAVI and the coverage area are of 0.84, with green matter (R2 = 0.73) and dry matter (R2 = 0.56). No significant difference was observed between the accessions for leaf temperature measure by TM and TG, and for canopy TM. Nevertheless, significant difference to canopy TG were observed, with lower canopy temperatures in accessions with upright growth habit than those with prostrate habit. The relationship between the techniques showed high values of determination coefficient to TML with TGL (R2 = 0.85) and TMC with TGC (R2 = 0.91). Given the above, the SAVI can be used to estimate the coverage area capacity (CC). Leaf and canopy temperatures can be used as an indication of water deficit in Paspalum accessions, using both the infrared thermometer (more accessible) and the thermographic camera. Canopy thermography can also be used to evaluate the thermal performance of green roofs. Thermographic images indicated that Paspalum accessions of upright growth habits may provide better thermal comfort.
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Pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of many plant and crop species and provide important diversity for food webs and cultural value. Despite the critical ecosystem services provided by pollinators, rapid pollinator declines are occurring in response to anthropogenic activities that cause the loss of suitable habitat. There is an opportunity for urban green space to support pollination ecosystem services locally and across the landscape. However, there is a lack of practical but evidence-based guidance on how urban green space can be designed effectively to provide floral resources and other habitat needs to a diverse assemblage of pollinators. We examine the existing pollinator research in this paper to address the following questions specific to insect pollinators in temperate urban settings: (1) Which pollinators can be the focus of efforts to increase pollinator ecosystem services in cities? (2) Which plants and what arrangements of plants are most attractive and supportive to urban pollinators? (3) What do urban pollinators need beyond floral resources? (4) How can the surrounding landscape inform where to prioritize new habitat creation within cities? Using these questions as a framework, we provide specific and informed management and planning recommendations that optimize pollinator ecosystem value in urban settings.
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In the surnmergreen deciduous forest region of Europe lawns are one of the widely distributed vegetation types in settlernents. The most important impact on this synanthropic vegetation type is the frequent cutting. All lawns in Gerrnany exhibit basically the sarne community structure. Dominant species are Hemikryptophyta from the Cynosurion, which are adapted to the frequent cutting due to their form of life. Depending on the water balance in the soil there are different local types of lawns. Due to the oceanic gradient it is possible to differentiate geographical types. However, a comparison of lawns with closely related pastures (Lolio-Cynosuretum) shows, that lawns are more strongly standardized habitats and natural differences can not be easily determined. The reasons are that due to the standardized layout of lawns in Germany (deposition of hurnus, use of imported seeds). the age (regularly younger than 30 years), and the intensity of cutting, floristic differences due to the soil substrate are not as clearly distinguishable and alien species involuntarily introduced or introduced by man develop outside their original habitat.
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IntroductionUrban environments in the beginning of the 21st century: globalization and unificationUnderstanding of urban biodiversity todayExisting approaches to design of urban biodiversityConclusion AcknowledgementsReferences
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The role earthworms play in soil fertility is under increasing scientific scrutiny, especially in light of the fact that farmers are seeking to reduce soil tillage. However, there are many discrepancies in earthworm sampling methods. The aim of this study is to compare the efficiency of three chemical expellants (formaldehyde, commercial ‘hot’ mustard and allyl isothiocyanate, abbreviated AITC), with two sampling methods: (i) a simple method that consisted in spreading an expellant solution on the soil and retrieving earthworms that emerged at the soil surface, and (ii) a combined method that consisted in applying a chemical to expel earthworms and then hand-sorting the remaining earthworms from the block of soil. Sampling efficiency was measured in terms of earthworm density and biomass, for endogeic and anecic earthworms.With the simple method, a higher density of earthworms was sampled using formaldehyde and AITC than with mustard. Formaldehyde, AITC and mustard expelled not significantly different biomasses of 47.7, 31.9 and 20.5gm−2, respectively, on average over the three plots. The combined method did not yield a significantly different density or biomass with the different chemicals.Formaldehyde is toxic and commercial ‘hot’ mustard is difficult to standardise and inefficient when used without hand-sorting. Accounting for the accuracy of the sampling methods as well as the toxicity of the chemicals to users and soil organisms, AITC appears to be a reliable and promising chemical expellant whether or not in combination with hand-sorting. Its use would be a step towards standardizing earthworm sampling methods.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration and the impact of carbon (C) cycling in urban soils are themes of increasing interest. A model was developed to investigate the potential of C sequestration in home lawns. The model contrasted gross C sequestered versus the hidden C costs (HCC) associated with typical lawn maintenance practices. The potential of SOC sequestration for U.S. home lawns was determined from SOC sequestration rates of turfgrass and grasslands. Net SOC sequestration in lawn soils was estimated using a simple mass balance model derived from typical homeowner lawn maintenance practices. The average SOC sequestration rate for U.S. lawns was 46.0 to 127.1 g C/m2/year. Additional C sequestration can result from biomass gains attributable to fertilizer and irrigation management. Hidden C costs are the amount of energy expended by typical lawn management practices in grams of carbon equivalents (CE)/m2/ year and include practices including mowing, irrigating, fertilizing, and using pesticides. The net SOC sequestration rate was assessed by subtracting the HCC from gross SOC sequestration rate. Lawn maintenance practices ranged from low to high management. Low management with minimal input (MI) included mowing only, a net SOC sequestration rate of 25.4 to 114.2 g C/m2/year. The rate of SOC sequestration for doit- yourself (DIY) management by homeowners was 80.6 to 183.0 g C/m2/year. High management, based on university and industry-standard best management recommendation practices (BMPs), had a net SOC sequestration rate of 51.7 to 204.3 g C/m2/year. Lawns can be a net sink for atmospheric CO2 under all three evaluated levels of management practices with a national technical potential ranging from 25.4 to 204.3 g C/m2/year.
Lawns in Germany exhibit basically the same community structure. Dominant species are Hemikryptophyta from the Cynosurion, which are adapted to the frequent cutting due to their form of life. -from Author
Landscape architecture is increasingly involved in management-oriented approaches to the development of more stimulating urban greenspace. This often involves modest capital budgets and interventions, often in conjunction with community groups, over long periods of time. An example of this process is the diversification of grasslands in urban parks through the addition of dicotyledenous herbaceous perennials (forbs). Three experiments were established at RHS Harlow Carr between 1996 and 2003 to investigate the establishment of cultivated forbs in urban meadow grassland. The 25 forb species tested responded as ‘increasers’, ‘decreasers’ or one of two intermediate categories. Mulching did not improve establishment in terms of aboveground dry weight or survivorship beyond that of a meadow-free gap of the same size. A meadow-free gap improved establishment in the first year but, in subsequent years, only for species well fitted to the site and the meadow cutting regime. Many ‘decreaser’ species were extinct three years after planting. Observations are made on other factors affecting establishment and persistence, and the practicality of planting as a means of producing visually dramatic meadow grassland in urban greenspace.
Seven dynamic aspects of sustainability—resources—were described and monitored thoroughly in a small model community—Hågaby—in west Uppsala, Sweden. The residents’ use of local and distant physical resources, such as heat, electricity, fuel and clean water or production of solid waste and wastewater in the model project were lower than the Swedish average, while the utilisation of local material resources like soil and ground water was higher. Economic resources like houses, equipment, greenery and technical infrastructure were administered and used to minimise costs for construction, maintenance, rents and fees. Social and organisational resources were outlined and managed to facilitate relations between residents and between local professionals in the area. Other goals in the planning of Hågaby, were to facilitate an efficient local as well as distant mobility (transportation and communication) and to organise space for social contact as well as for privacy for individuals and households. Biological, cultural and aesthetic resources were important indirect factors affecting the inhabitants’ feeling of rootedness and their sense of place. All seven resources were managed in its site context to optimise the sustainability of the unique local community.The results from Hågaby were also compared with preliminary data from a new research project investigating sustainability conditions in three common Swedish townscape types in four municipalities. Preliminary results showed that sustainability strengths and weaknesses in several cases indeed differ quantitatively and qualitatively between different typical parts of the city. The results support that the dynamic resource model presented in this paper, should be helpful in establishing place and situation adapted sustainability strategies in any type of Swedish local community.
We revisited the well documented and ongoing long-term 'Ultuna continuous soil organic matter field experiment' which started in 1956 at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The objective of the experiment is to quantify effects of six organic amendments and mineral N fertilizers on the crop and soil. We used the 'equivalent soil mass' concept for estimating changes in the topsoil carbon stocks in all 15 treatments. C inputs from amendments were measured and those from crops were calculated using allometric functions and crop yields. Clustering C inputs into seven categories by quality allowed us to calculate a 'humification' coefficient for each category. Here, these coefficients were simply based on the fraction of total C input that still remains in the topsoil after about 50 years. As indicated by previous studies, this coefficient was highest for peat, followed by sewage sludge, manure, sawdust and above-ground crop residues. The most interesting result from the current investigation is that the optimized coefficient for root-derived carbon was about 2.3 times higher than that for above-ground plant residues. The calculated results were found to be robust in a sensitivity analysis. Our findings strongly support the hypothesis that root-derived carbon contributes more to relatively stable soil C pools than the same amount of above-crop residue-derived (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.