28 Jul 2023
 | 28 Jul 2023
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal BG.

Lawns and meadows in urban green space – A comparison from greenhouse gas, drought resilience and biodiversity perspectives

Justine Trémeau, Beñat Olascoaga, Leif Backman, Esko Karvinen, Henriikka Vekuri, and Liisa Kulmala

Abstract. Nowadays, city planners design urban futures by considering climate change and biodiversity loss. Here, we studied the greenhouse gas fluxes of urban lawns and meadows and linked the observations with plant functional diversity and soil properties. CO2, CH4 and N2O fluxes, as well as plant diversity, were measured in eight lawn–meadow pairs in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland. Among the sites, an irrigated lawn, a non-irrigated lawn, a young dry meadow and an old mesic meadow were intensively studied especially using manual chamber measurements in 2021–2022. The process-based ecosystem model JSBACH was utilized together with the momentary observations on CO2 exchange to quantify the annual C balance of these intensive study sites. On another hand, the initial dynamics of conversion from lawns to meadows were studied with the six other pairs, where measurements were conducted from 2020 to 2022 and the transformation of half of the sites had been performed in late 2020. We found that lawns are clear sink of carbon, whereas the mesic meadow was more resistant to drought events than a non-irrigated lawn. Moreover, according to our results, the conversion from lawn to meadow did not affect the fluxes of CH4 and N2O. Last, the relation between C and N cycle and plant diversity was unclear and would need further investigations.

Justine Trémeau et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on bg-2023-107', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Aug 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on bg-2023-107', Anonymous Referee #2, 18 Sep 2023

Justine Trémeau et al.

Data sets

Fluxes and plant diversity data in urban grasslands Justine Trémeau, Esko Karvinen, and Beñat Olascoaga

Justine Trémeau et al.


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Short summary
We studied urban lawns and meadows in Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland. We found that meadows are more resistant to drought events, but that they do not increase carbon sequestration compared with lawns. Moreover, the transformation from a lawn to a meadow did not demonstrate any negative climate effects in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, considering biodiversity, climate warming and carbon neutrality, it is necessary to find the right trade-off between lawns and meadows in cities.