In my PhD thesis I studied the impacts of fragmentation and recreational use on the understorey vegetation and soil microbial communities of urban forests. Main findings were
that the trampling tolerance of forest vegetation increased with the productivity of the site and that the level of wear correlated positively with the number of residents around the forest patch.
Due to trampling and edge effects, resilient herb and grass species are replacing sensitive dwarf shrubs, mosses and lichens in urban forests. Furthermore, microbial activity is decreasing at forest edges and on paths and in their surroundings. This implies diminishing litter decomposition rates, and thus, a change in nutrient cycling in the soil.
Therefore, my future research interests include to study if these effects – decreased litter decomposition and changed nutrient cycling – exist and what are the possible impacts on nutrient supply of urban forest plants.
Tel: +358 102112683
Fax: +358 102112202
Finnish Forest Research Institute,
P.O. Box 18, 01301 Vantaa, Finland