Assessment of absorption ability of air pollutant on forest in Gongju-city
© The Author(s) 2017
Received: 21 August 2017
Accepted: 22 November 2017
Published: 6 December 2017
Some researchers have attempted to evaluate the ecological function of various additional services, away from the main point of view on the timber production of Korean forests. However, basic data, evaluation models, or studies on the absorption of air pollutants related to major plant communities in Korea are very rare. Therefore, we evaluated the functional value of the forest ecosystem in Gongju-city. Plantation manual for air purification, supplied from the Ministry of Environment in Japan, was referred to process and method for assessment of air pollutant absorption.
Gross primary production was calculated about average 18.2 t/ha/year. It was a relatively low value in forests mixed with deciduous broad and evergreen coniferous compared to pure coniferous forest. Net primary production was the highest value in deciduous coniferous and was the lowest value in mixed forest with deciduous broad and evergreen broad. And the mean sequestration amount of each air pollutant per unit area per year assessed from gross primary production and concentration of gas was the highest with 75.81 kg/ha/year in O3 and was 16.87 and 6.04 kg/ha/year in NO2 and SO2, respectively. In addition, total amounts of CO2 absorption and O2 production were 716,045 t CO2/year and 520,760 t O2/year in all forest vegetation in Gongju-city.
In this study, we evaluated the absorption ability of air pollutant in 2014 on forest in Gongju-city area. Gongju-city has the broad mountain area about 70.3%, and area of deciduous broad leaves forest was established the broadest with 47.4% of genus Quercus. Pg was calculated about average 18.2 t/ha/year. The mean sequestration amount of each air pollutant per unit area per year assessed from Pg and C gas was the highest with 75.81 kg/ha/year in O3 and were 16.87 and 6.04 kg/ha/year in NO2 and SO2, respectively. Absorption rates of O3, NO2, and SO2 were the highest in evergreen coniferous forest about 14.87 kgO3/ha/year, 3.30 kgNO2/ha/year, 1.18 kgSO2/ha/year, and the lowest were 5.95 kgO3/ha/year, 1.32 kgNO2/ha/year, and 0.47 kgSO2/ha/year in deciduous broad forest. In conclusion, it was evaluated that Japanese model is suitable for estimating air pollutants in Japan to Korean vegetation. However, in Korea, there is a very limited basic data needed to assess the ability of forests to absorption of air pollutants. In this study, the accuracy of a calculated value is not high because the basic data of trees with similar life form are used in evaluation.
Ecosystem supplies various services to human through progressing of basic ecological function related to energy flow and material cycle. These services include various ecosystem products such as basic supplement from food and water to water quality and climate controlling (Costanza et al. 1997). On these ecosystem services, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) submitted typical estimation methods that RUBICODE project (Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems project; Vandewalle et al. 2009) is possible to calculate unit of nation and area in Europe using information about ecosystem service (supply, control, culture, support), GUMBO (Global Unified Model of the Biosphere; Boumans et al. 2002) is possible to integrate assessment about multi-scale, and InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs; Nelson et al. 2009) can evaluate with territorial unit.
Forest was functionally divided to timber production, storage of water resource, protection of forest disaster, forest resting, and others from 1970 in Japan. And they also are trying to make developed evaluation of fine forest function using GIS tool (Kweon et al. 2008). Also, function of various ecosystem services is increasing, not providing simple green area in Korea (Kweon 2008; Shu et al. 2006). According to the data of the National Statistical Office in 2015, about 64% of the total land area in South Korea is forested and it resulted from the sustainable and political promotion and management by the government from 1970s. In present, forest reached a level of mature not timber production but having the various ecological functions in Korea. Some studies tried to evaluate the ecological functions of various additional services away from primary view of point with timber production in Korean forest (Kweon 2008; Shu et al. 2006; Lee et al. 2010; Kim et al. 2015; Song 2015).
The functions of forest ecosystem are divided to economical function of trading parts in market such as timber, pulp, fuel, mushroom, and medicine and to public function of non-trading parts such as storage of water resource, improving of air quality, protection of forest disaster, maintaining of life environment, and forest rest (Kim et al. 2012; Korean Forest Affair 2000; National forest research, 2016). These functions can be evaluated with market value as price decision by demand and supply of forest product about timber. In various forest functions, maintaining of life environment includes abilities such as absorption of greenhouse gas, improving of air quality, production of oxygen, and depress of heat island. And improving of air quality is highly noticed under the high increasing of concentrations of SO2 and O3, particular material resulted from the proceeding of industrialization in China and East-south Asia.
Promotion of air quality by plant is mainly performed under the processing of plant photosynthesis. In opening status of stomata, CO2 and H2O are transported in and out of the plant body, and then, gases materials as SO2 and NO2 are also flowed from atmosphere in plant with diffusion due to difference of concentration. Air pollutants flowing into plant body are flowed by diffusible force under the uninfluential low range to basic physiological process such as transpiration and photosynthesis or to direct influence to leaf.
Therefore, the amount of air pollutant absorption can be estimated from relationship between absorptions of CO2 and air pollutant that pollutant absorption rate is high in a lot of photosynthesis status. Ultimately, flowing rate of air pollutant into plant is highly related with difference of concentration between interior and exterior of plant and opening status of stoma of plant. Estimation of air pollutant absorption in plant community can be calculated from ratios between absorption rates of CO2 and air pollutants. However, it is very rare that basic data, assessment model, or study of air pollutant absorption is related to major plant communities in Korea.
In this study, we tried to evaluate functional value of forest ecosystem on regional area in Gongju-city using the Japan assessment model (Japan Environmental affair, 2014; Sugahara and Aiga 1987). Japan is very similar to Korea in environments of forest, air pollutants, way of life, etc. Especially, forest type, life form, and community structure composed with Pinus densiflora, Quercus mongolica, Quercus acutissima, Quercus serrata, etc., are very similar in Korean forest. For this reason, it was judged that the applicability of the model was high.
Gongju-city is a small and medium-sized city, located in central part in Chungcheongnamdo province, and occupies a basin surrounded by Charyeong Mountains in the northwest and Mt. Gyeryong in the southeast and the population is around 113,000. The area is about 940,393 km2, and the areas of field, rice field, and forest are about 60,934, 116,426, and 653,880 km2, respectively. Annual mean air temperature is about 11.8 °C; air temperature is 24.7 °C in high-temperature summer season, averaging about − 0.9 °C in low temperature season (http://www.gongju-city.go.kr/).
Air pollutants were stipulated air pollutant included in particle material and special air pollutant materials such as Cd in air Environmental Conservation Act. In this study, we selected three pollutants SO2, NO2, and O3 that are causative agent having various and strong influences on human and its surrounding environment. Also, concentrations of these pollutants are on the increase through rapid industrial development and highly increasing of automobile.
Calculation of amount of pollutant absorption
Basically, Plantation manual for air purification (In Japanese, Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency 2014), supplied from the Ministry of Environment in Japan, was referred to the process and method for the assessment of air pollutant absorption. The process is composed of assessments of area of forest type, concentration of air pollutant, gross-primary production and net primary production, calculation of absorbed amount of air pollutant using correlation functional model, and applying of forest period.
Areas of forest type
The area of forest types was collected from data base of Korean Forest Service (2016). Forests are classified into mainly three types: coniferous forests, deciduous forests, and mixed forests. Area in mixed forest area with broad and coniferous was calculated to half value in each total forest type.
Concentration of air pollutant
Concentrations of pollutant were collected in Sagokmyen, Gongju-city (E 127.03°, N 36.53°), for assessing air pollutant absorption capacity. These data is supplied by Air Korea (http://www.airkorea.or.kr) in the Ministry of Environment.
However, it was used with average value from Mar. 1 to 10 for lack of data from Jan. 2014 to Feb. All values of pollutant concentration were converted from ppm to μg/cm3 for using model function.
Gross-primary production and net primary production
Net primary production (Pn) was basically calculated from forest data collected in Chungcheongnamdo area. Because the ratio of Pn to gross-primary production (Pg) is very racking in Korea, the data of Pn/Pg ratio internationally investigated in 1970s was used in this study (Japan Environmental affair, 2014).
Calculation of absorbed amount of air pollutant
Absorbed amount of air pollutant was calculated using assessment model based on studied data of Miyake (1990) and Totsuka and Miyake (1991). This model was induced from interrelationship between gross primary production, net primary production, and absorbed amount of pollutant. We assumed that this model is very suitable for this study because vegetation, climate, and dwelling patterns of Japan are more similar to Korea than other nations such as Europe and America.
CO2 absorption and O2 production
Total amounts of CO2 absorption and O2 production were estimated from Pn data based on the study of Kim et al. (2010) in Gongju-city. The amounts of CO2 absorption and O2 production was calculated from ratio molecular weight of carbon and O2 to Pn.
Results and discussion
Areas of each forest type
Area of each forest types in Gongju-city
In this study, also, the low altitude zone was broadly established with coniferous forest such as P. densiflora and P. rigida plantation and the deciduous broad-leaved forest of Quercus tree as Q. mongolica and Q. serrata was shown on habitat in the higher area than that in evergreen coniferous. Consequently, forest mixed with deciduous and coniferous was broadly established about 11,568 ha through board area between broad-leaved Quercus tree and coniferous tree of P. densiflora.
Deciduous coniferous forest such as Larix leptolepis (Japanese larch) and evergreen broad-leaved forests were very restricted about 77.0 and 18.0 ha, respectively, compared with evergreen coniferous forest and deciduous broad-leaved forest. This result related to climatic factor that as Larix leptolepis have the habitat in cooler area than that of Q. mongolica, and evergreen broad-leaved have warmer area than that of P. densiflora. Also, L. leptolepis in South-Korea is planted by government in 1970s.
From these, area of deciduous broad-leaved forest was 47.4% as purely dominated form of each Q. acutissima, Q. variabilis, and Q. mongolica. The mixed forest composed of deciduous broad and evergreen coniferous leaved forest was the second area with 11,568 ha (39.1%). The evergreen coniferous forest dominated with P. densiflora was the third area with 3706 ha (12.5%), 154.2 ha (0.5%), 77.4 ha (0.3%), and 18.1 ha (0.1%) in forest areas mixed with deciduous broad—coniferous, deciduous coniferous, and evergreen coniferous, respectively.
Concentration of pollutant
Pg, Pn, and Pn/Pg
Gross primary production (Pg) and net primary production (Pn) in Gongju-city
Absorption rate of air pollutant per unit area
Absorption rates of air pollutant (Arpa) per unit area per year in each forest type in Gongju-city
Absorbed amount of air pollutant in each forest type
Absorbed amount of air pollutant in each forest type in Gongju-city
Amount of absorption (t/year)
CO2 absorption and O2 production
Absorption of CO2 and production of O2 per year calculated from net primary production in each forest type in Gongju-city
Absorption and production
Mixed forest with deciduous and evergreen coniferous was estimated with 37 t CO2/ha/year and 27 t O2/ha/year, and that was the highest value among the mixed forest. And it was calculated with 31 t CO2/ha/year and 23 t O2/ha/year in mixed forest with deciduous broad and coniferous and 26 t CO2/ha/year and 19 t O2/ha/year in mixed forest deciduous broad and evergreen coniferous. Total amounts of CO2 absorption and O2 production calculated from these data were 716,045 t CO2/year and 520,760 t O2/year in all forest vegetation in Gongju-city.
In this study, we evaluated the absorption ability of air pollutant in 2014 on forest in Gongju-city area. Gongju-city has the broad mountain area about 70.3%, and area of deciduous broad-leaved forest was established the broadest with 47.4% of genus Quercus. Pg was calculated about average 18.2 t/ha/year ranged from 25.1 to 10.0 t/ha/year. The mean sequestration amount of each air pollutant per unit area per year assessed from Pg and C gas was the highest with 75.81 kg/ha/year in O3 and was 16.87 and 6.04 kg/ha/year in NO2 and SO2, respectively. Absorption rates of O3, NO2, and SO2 were the highest in evergreen coniferous forest about 14.87 kgO3/ha/year, 3.30 kgNO2/ha/year, and 1.18 kgSO2/ha/year, and the lowest were 5.95 kgO3/ha/year, 1.32 kgNO2/ha/year, and 0.47 kgSO2/ha/year in deciduous broad forest.
In conclusion, it was evaluated that Japanese model is suitable for estimating air pollutants in Japan to Korean vegetation. However, in Korea, there is a very limited basic data needed to assess the ability of forests in absorption of air pollutants. In this study, the accuracy of the calculated values is not high because the basic data of trees with similar life form are used in evaluation. Therefore, in order to accurately assess the value of various service functions performed by the ecosystem, basic data, such as vegetation condition, Pg, Pn, and Pn/Pg for major vegetation, should be obtained as soon as possible. Also, correlation functions between the absorption rates of air pollutants and photosynthesis for the major dominant plants, such as P. densiflora, Q. mongolica, and Q. serrata, should be urgently needed. These functional regressions are one of the key factors which are to control absorption capacity of ecosystem.
This study was supported by the National Institute of Ecology in 2016, Republic of Korea.
This study was conducted with the support of the National Institute of Ecology, Korea.
Availability of data and materials
All authors conducted a survey together during the study period. EJY and JSH wrote the manuscript. LJS participated in the design of the study and examined the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
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