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Browsing by Subject "dog urine"

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  • Järvinen, Riikka (2022)
    Urban greenspaces are valuable resources for humans and are an integral part of the urban landscape. They are also popular sites for various social and cultural activities, such as dog walking. Dog ownership rates are increasing globally at a rapid rate, hence increasing the dog populations within urban cities. The increasing number of dogs could potentially have negative consequences to the quality of urban parks. Furthermore, there is a lack of research on the impacts of dogs on urban environments. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of the impacts of dogs on path-side soils in urban greenspaces. Soil samples were collected from both Helsinki and Lahti. The impact of dog urine was studied by comparing path-side soil samples between areas with high dog activity (i.e., parks) and similar areas with low to no dog activity (i.e., cemeteries). Soil samples were collected three times during the growing season in 2021 at three different treatments: close by 1) an evergreen tree, 2) a lamppost, and 3) a lawn area. The samples were analyzed for soil pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter, soil moisture, NO3--N, and NH4+-N. Net N mineralization and net nitrification rates were also calculated. The results indicated that dog urine is a significant contributor to the input of nitrogen in urban parks. Soil NO3-N and NH4+-N concentrations were significantly higher in parks than in cemeteries and exhibited clear seasonal trends. Soil pH was generally lower and electrical conductivity higher in parks than in cemeteries. Poles and trees exhibited the greatest concentrations, suggesting that the impact of dog urine is highly localized around path-side objects. None of the treatments in cemeteries showed little to no changes throughout the growing season. Lastly, the net nitrification rates were significantly higher in parks during spring and summer. In contrast, net mineralization rates were generally higher in cemeteries than parks. These results confirm that urban planners need to take into consideration the impact of dogs to mitigate any potential negative consequences to the quality of urban parks.