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Allergenic pollen concentrations in the air of urban parks in relation to their vegetation

Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Volume 46, 126486


In the face of the intensifying process of urbanization and the increased incidence of pollen allergies among urban residents, there is still a need to continuously monitor the airborne concentration of allergenic plant pollen. Urban green spaces (UGS) are a desirable element of the urban fabric and necessary for the proper functioning of cities, but they are a rich source of allergenic pollen that may pose a certain risk to people visiting them. The main aim of this study was to analyse the airborne allergenic pollen content in parks of different types relative to a reference point located on the roof of a building. Moreover, this study investigated the relationship between tree canopy volume and the number of recorded airborne pollen grains (SPIn- Seasonal Pollen Integral), and these parameters were compared with the potential impact of vegetation in the parks studied through the Index of Urban Green Zones Allergenicity (IUGZA). Aerobiological monitoring was carried out in Rzeszów, SE Poland in 2016. A volumetric Hirst-type device was used. The pollen seasons of many taxa largely overlapped at each site where the monitoring was carried out, but the concentration values clearly differed. Tree pollen concentration values were not dependent on total canopy volume, and the greatest disproportions were found for Acer, Betula, Quercus, and Tilia pollen. This may be due to the fact that a solitary tree produces more pollen than a tree growing near others of the same species. The downtown park, surrounded by densely built-up areas, exhibited the highest allergenic potential, and the concentration of pollen, in particular tree pollen, was highest there. It is undesirable to plant hedges of allergenic plants, as they are a rich local source of pollen. Aerobiological monitoring carried out in urban parks provides information about the real threat of allergenic pollen to park visitors.

Author(s): I. Kasprzyk, A. Ćwik, K. Kluska, T. Wójcik, P. Cariñanos

Journal: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Volume 46, 126486

Year: 2019