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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Topsoil characteristics of forests and lawns along an urban-rural gradient in the Paris region (France)

Foti, Ludovic; Barot, Sebastien; Gignoux, Jacques; Grimaldi, Michel; Lata, Jean-Christophe; Lerch, Thomas Z.; Nold, Francois; Nunan, Naoise; Raynaud, Xavier; Abbadie, Luc; Dubs, Florence


Urban soils are a crucial component of urban ecosystems, especially in public green spaces, because of the ecosystem services they provide (e.g. public recreation, urban cooling or water infiltration). In this study, we describe the chemical, physical and hydrostructural characteristics of 180 forest and lawn surface soil samples, taken along an urban-rural gradient in the Paris region. This was done in order to identify how these soils have been affected by urbanization. Forests and lawns are the main vegetation types found in this region and represent 21% and 22.2% of the territory's surface area, respectively. Many of the properties of urban forest soils differed from those of other sites (e.g. texture, organic carbon content, total nitrogen and carbonate contents), possibly because the urban forests are much older than the lawns and because of the legacy of the historical management of soils in this region (Haussmann period). Urban lawn soils were more compacted than urban forests, probably due to higher foot traffic. The effects of urbanization were, at times, confounded with other factors (e.g. sandier texture of urban forests), which suggests that surface soil characteristics were influenced by past urban planning. Finally, this study constitutes a baseline analysis for the monitoring of soil quality in the region.


anthrosols; chemical urban soil characteristics; forests; hydrostructural urban soil characteristics; lawns; physical urban soil characteristics; urban-rural gradient

Published in

Soil Use and Management
2021, Volume: 37, number: 4, pages: 749-761
Publisher: WILEY

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science

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