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An index to identify suitable species in urban green areas

Garcia-Garcia, Maria Jesus, Sánchez-Medina, Alvaro, Alfonso-Corzo, Eva, Gonzalez Garcia, Concepcion
Urban forestry & urban greening 2016 v.16 pp. 43-49
Acer negundo, Cotoneaster, Euonymus europaeus, Nerium oleander, Pittosporum tobira, Populus, Pyracantha coccinea, Robinia pseudoacacia, Ulmus, decision support systems, flowers, indigenous species, introduced species, planting, shrubs, statistical analysis, trees, urban areas, vines, Spain
This paper presents a method that allows sorting of tree and shrub species according to their suitability for planting in urban areas of Madrid (Spain). Suitability was determined from a weighted index for each species according to the severity of damage (biotic, abiotic, and anthropogenic; stem wounds are the main problem in trees, while dead plants are the most important problem in shrubs, seasonal flowers, and vines) and to risk, which was obtained from a new measure, observed Species per Green Area per Year (SAYs). The greater the number of damaged SAYs, the less suitable a species was considered for outdoor planting. For this purpose, 49 green areas corresponding to 141ha were sampled during 2005–2008. The tree species least recommended for planting include Robinia pseudoacacia, Ulmus sp., Acer negundo, Platanus×hybrid, Populus Boolleana. The shrubs least recommended for planting are Nerium oleander, Cotoneaster sp., Euonymus europaeus, Pyracantha coccinea, and Pittosporum tobira. Statistical analysis reveals that native species have a lower percentage of damaged SAYs than non-native species.