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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Temperate forests are threatened by urbanization and fragmentation, with over 20% (118,300 km2) of U.S. forest land projected to be subsumed by urban land development. We leveraged a unique, well-characterized urban-to-rural and forest edge-to-interior gradient to identify the combined impact of these two land use changes—urbanization and forest edge creation—on the soil microbial community in native remnant forests. We found evidence of mutualism breakdown between trees and their fungal root mutualists [ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi] with urbanization, where ECM fungi colonized fewer tree roots and had less connectivity in soil microbiome networks in urban forests compared to rural forests. However, urbanization did not reduce the relative abundance of ECM fungi in forest soils; instead, forest edges alone led to strong reductions in ECM fungal abundance. At forest edges, ECM fungi were replaced by plant and animal pathogens, as well as copiotrophic, xenobiotic-degrading, and nitrogen-cycling bacteria, including nitrifiers and denitrifiers. Urbanization and forest edges interacted to generate new “suites” of microbes, with urban interior forests harboring highly homogenized microbiomes, while edge forest microbiomes were more heterogeneous and less stable, showing increased vulnerability to low soil moisture. When scaled to the regional level, we found that forest soils are projected to harbor high abundances of fungal pathogens and denitrifying bacteria, even in rural areas, due to the widespread existence of forest edges. Our results highlight the potential for soil microbiome dysfunction—including increased greenhouse gas production—in temperate forest regions that are subsumed by urban expansion, both now and in the future.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 5, 2024
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract The expansion of an urban tree canopy is a commonly proposed nature-based solution to combat excess urban heat. The influence trees have on urban climates via shading is driven by the morphological characteristics of trees, whereas tree transpiration is predominantly a physiological process dependent on environmental conditions and the built environment. The heterogeneous nature of urban landscapes, unique tree species assemblages, and land management decisions make it difficult to predict the magnitude and direction of cooling by transpiration. In the present article, we synthesize the emerging literature on the mechanistic controls on urban tree transpiration. We present a case study that illustrates the relationship between transpiration (using sap flow data) and urban temperatures. We examine the potential feedbacks among urban canopy, the built environment, and climate with a focus on extreme heat events. Finally, we present modeled data demonstrating the influence of transpiration on temperatures with shifts in canopy extent and irrigation during a heat wave. 
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