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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 39, Issue 3 — May 2013

Adaptations of Australian Tree Species Relevant to Water Scarcity in the Urban Forest    (View PDF)

G.M. Moore

Abstract: Water is a valuable resource, but its preferred use by society for other, higher priorities has resulted in a scarcity for the urban forest. However, the value of the urban forest in providing environmental and ecological services that have significant benefits for human health, wellbeing, and the liveability of cities demands the reconsideration of the priority of water use by the urban forest. Health authorities are advocating the value of urban greenspace that may require the use of water, especially storm water, as climate change threatens more severe heatwaves. Trees have an important and long-term role in water-sensitive urban design that efficiently uses and reduces pollution from storm water. Knowledge of tree root systems and their interaction with soils means that irrigation can be targeted in a way that maximizes the efficient and effective use of water. Understanding stomatal behavior also allows optimal timing of irrigation for photosynthetic efficiency while capturing the benefits of transpirational cooling, which may reduce extra deaths during heat waves. The economic, social, and health benefits justify the efficient and effective use of valuable water.

Keywords: Australia; Drought; Foliage; Root Adaptation; Urban Water Use

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