As 80% of the EU population is expected to live in urban areas by 2020, the quality of the urban environment is of growing importance. Urban trees are key elements in mitigating the common environmental problems in cities, through provisioning crucial ecosystem services such as microclimate mitigation and air quality improvement. Yet, urban trees typically face harsh environmental conditions, resulting in reduced health, and potentially jeopardizing ecosystem service provisioning. Because of their well-known host tree benefits, Ectomycorrhizal Fungi (EcM) may play an important role in urban tree management through improving tree vigour, and thus the extent of the ecosystem services delivered.
URBANMYCOSERVE aims at achieving the following objectives:
- Provide an assessment of the EcM communities of urban trees, and of their environmental drivers;
- Relate the composition of EcM communities, and the presence of specific functional groups of EcM, to urban tree health and ecosystem services delivery;
- Develop a dedicated EcM-inoculum, specific for a set of urban tree species, to improve their health and ecosystem services delivery.
To achieve its goals, the URBANMYCOSERVE project will implement the following activities:
- Characterize the EcM communities of a set of model tree species from three cities (Porto, Leuven and Strasbourg) through advanced DNA-barcoding techniques.
- Identify the environmental drivers of EcM community composition of the model tree species;
- Quantify tree health, growth and ecosystem services provided by the tree species through advanced remote sensing techniques, continuous diameter growth measurement and modelling, and identify the mediating role of EcM;
- Develop and test (in situ and ex situ) dedicated EcM-inocula for urban settings.