Arne Sæbø

Research Station Manager

(+47) 404 74 349
arne.sabo@nibio.no

Place
Særheim

Visiting address
Postvegen 213, NO-4353 Klepp stasjon

To document

Abstract

Background and aims Layered profiles of designed soils may provide long-term benefits for green roofs, provided the vegetation can exploit resources in the different layers. We aimed to quantify Sedum root foraging for water and nutrients in designed soils of different texture and layering. Methods In a controlled pot experiment we quantified the root foraging ability of the species Sedum album (L.) and S. rupestre (L.) in response to substrate structure (fine, coarse, layered or mixed), vertical fertiliser placement (top or bottom half of pot) and watering (5, 10 or 20 mm week−1 ). Results Water availability was the main driver of plant growth, followed by substrate structure, while fertiliser placement only had marginal effects on plant growth. Root foraging ability was low to moderate, as also reflected in the low proportion of biomass allocated to roots (5–13%). Increased watering reduced the proportion of root length and root biomass in deeper layers. Conclusions Both S. album and S. rupestre had a low ability to exploit water and nutrients by precise root foraging in substrates of different texture and layering. Allocation of biomass to roots was low and showed limited flexibility even under water-deficient conditions.

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Abstract

The rapid increase of the world population constantly demands more food production from agricultural soils. This causes conflicts, since at the same time strong interest arises on novel bio-based products from agriculture, and new perspectives for rural landscapes with their valuable ecosystem services. Agriculture is in transition to fulfill these demands. In many countries, conventional farming, influenced by post-war food requirements, has largely been transformed into integrated and sustainable farming. However, since it is estimated that agricultural production systems will have to produce food for a global population that might amount to 9.1 billion by 2050 and over 10 billion by the end of the century, we will require an even smarter use of the available land, including fallow and derelict sites. One of the biggest challenges is to reverse non-sustainable management and land degradation. Innovative technologies and principles have to be applied to characterize marginal lands, explore options for remediation and re-establish productivity. With view to the heterogeneity of agricultural lands, it is more than logical to apply specific crop management and production practices according to soil conditions. Cross-fertilizing with conservation agriculture, such a novel approach will provide (1) increased resource use efficiency by producing more with less (ensuring food security), (2) improved product quality, (3) ameliorated nutritional status in food and feed products, (4) increased sustainability, (5) product traceability and (6) minimized negative environmental impacts notably on biodiversity and ecological functions. A sustainable strategy for future agriculture should concentrate on production of food and fodder, before utilizing bulk fractions for emerging bio-based products and convert residual stage products to compost, biochar and bioenergy. The present position paper discusses recent developments to indicate how to unlock the potentials of marginal land.

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Abstract

Air pollution has become a global problem and affects nearly all of us. Most of the pollution is of anthropogenic origin and therefore we are obliged to improve this situation. In solving this problem basically our only partners are plants with their enormous biologically active surface area. Plants themselves are also victims of air pollution but because they are sedentary they developed very efficient defence mechanisms, which can also be exploited to improve the humanosphere. For their life processes plants require intensive gas exchange, during which air contaminants are accumulated on leaf surfaces or absorbed into the tissues. Some of the pollutants are included by plants in their own metabolism while others are sequestered. In some plant species, the processes of removing pollutants from the air is conducted in a very efficient way and therefore they are used in the environmental friendly biotechnology called phytoremediation. For urban areas, outdoor phytoremediation is recommended while indoor phytoremediation can be applied in our homes and workplaces. Because in near future purifying outdoor air to protect human health and well-being does not look the most promising, an important and increasing role will be played by indoor phytoremediation.

To document

Abstract

Air pollution has become a global problem and affects nearly all of us. Most of the pollution is of anthropogenic origin and therefore we are obliged to improve this situation. In solving this problem basically our only partners are plants with their enormous biologically active surface area. Plants themselves are also victims of air pollution but because they are sedentary they developed very efficient defence mechanisms, which can also be exploited to improve the humanosphere. For their life processes plants require intensive gas exchange, during which air contaminants are accumulated on leaf surfaces or absorbed into the tissues. Some of the pollutants are included by plants in their own metabolism while others are sequestered. In some plant species, the processes of removing pollutants from the air is conducted in a very efficient way and therefore they are used in the environmental friendly biotechnology called phytoremediation. For urban areas, outdoor phytoremediation is recommended while indoor phytoremediation can be applied in our homes and workplaces. Because in near future purifying outdoor air to protect human health and well-being does not look the most promising, an important and increasing role will be played by indoor phytoremediation.

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Abstract

To predict how the function of urban vegetation and the provision of ecosystem services respond to combinations of natural and anthropogenic drivers, a better understanding of multiple stress interactions is required. This study tested combined effects of moderate levels of drought, soil salinity and exposure to diesel exhaust on parameters of physiology, metabolism, morphology and growth of Pinus sylvestris L. saplings. We found that plant responses were primarily dominated by single stressors and a few two-way interactions. Stressor combinations did not have considerable additional negative effects on plant performance compared to single stressors. Hence, synergistic and antagonistic interactions were rare and additive effects frequent. Drought cycles caused most negative effects, from chlorophyll a fluorescence and epicuticular wax content to growth responses, while soil salinity caused fewer negative effects but contributed to reduction in fine root growth and fluorescence parameters at low air contamination. Interestingly, the air contamination alone had only marginal effects on plant morphology and growth, but contributed an antagonistic effect, dampening the negative effect of drought and salinity on the maximum quantum efficiency of PSII photochemistry (Fv/Fm) and fine root biomass. Although, these effects were moderate, it appears that exhaust exposure had a cross-acclimation effect on plant responses to drought and salinity. We also found that salinity had a negative effect on the accumulation of particulate matter on shoots, illustrating that the plant stress situation can affect the provisioning of certain ecosystem services like pollution attenuation. These findings have implications for the understanding of the complex natural and anthropogenic stress situation of urban, and how to maintain the ecological functions and delivery of ecosystem services.

Abstract

Area-efficient constructed systems for stormwater management and bioretention may involve large fluc-tuations in subsurface water levels. Such fluctuations challenge vegetation by forcing roots to exploredeeper layers to access water during dry periods. In a controlled experiment, we studied growth pat-terns and the ability of Phragmites australis roots to track subsurface water level fluctuations of differingamplitude and frequency in substrates with contrasting water-holding capacity. We found that P. aus-tralis was able to adjust its rooting pattern to considerable subsurface water level fluctuations (to wellbelow 120 cm), but that substrate characteristics can restrict its ability to adjust to larger fluctuations.Fluctuation amplitude was the driving factor for plant growth and biomass allocation responses, whilesubstrate characteristics and fluctuation frequency were less important. When not exposed to large waterlevel fluctuations, P. australis grew larger shoots and only explored intermediate rooting depths. Therewas a negative relationship between root and rhizome biomass, showing a resource-based trade-off andshort-term costs of adjusting rooting patterns to large water level fluctuations. These results indicatethat P. australis is suited for systems with considerable subsurface water fluctuations, but constraints onits flexibility need to be investigated.

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Abstract

Introduced tree species represent a substantial component of urban forests in cities all over the world. Yet there is controversy about the further use of introduced tree species. Many practice orientated publications,research papers and governmental websites in the fields of urban planning, urban forestry, and urban ecology argue for planting native species and avoiding introduced species. Such arguments for native-only species selection are also touted by environmental groups and the media. Consequently the debate has sometimes spiralled away from a sensible and rational platform where invasion risks and biodiversity loss are discussed, to a groundless and unreasonable argument where exotic species are generally considered incapable of providing ecosystem services. From a European perspective, we here aim to curate a set of necessary considerations for current and future discussions on native and non-native plant material in sustainable urban development. Using examples from Northern and Central Europe we illustrate that in some regions the catalogue of native tree species may be too limited to fulfil ecosystem services and resilience in harsh urban environments. A main message from our line of arguments is that we cannot afford to generally exclude non-native tree species from urban greening. If “native-only” approaches become incorporated in regional, national or international policy documents or legislation there is a risk that urban ecosystem resilience will be compromised, particularly in regions with extreme environmental conditions. Since both invasion risks and sizes of native species pools vary conspicuously at regional to continental scales we also argue to adapt urban policies on using non-native trees to regional contexts.