Trace element concentrations along a gradient of urban pressure in forest and lawn soils of the Paris region (France)

Ludovic Foti, Florence Dubs, Jacques Gignoux, Jean Christophe Lata, Thomas Z. Lerch, Jérôme Mathieu, François Nold, Naoise Nunan, Xavier Raynaud, Luc Abbadie, Sébastien Barot

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    38 Citations (Scopus)


    The concentration, degree of contamination and pollution of 7 trace elements (TEs) along an urban pressure gradient were measured in 180 lawn and wood soils of the Paris region (France). Iron (Fe), a major element, was used as reference element. Copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) were of anthropogenic origin, while arsenic (As), chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni) were of natural origin. Road traffic was identified as the main source of anthropogenic TEs. In addition, the industrial activity of the Paris region, especially cement plants, was identified as secondary source of Cd. Soil characteristics (such as texture, organic carbon (OC) and total nitrogen (tot N) contents) tell the story of the soil origins and legacies along the urban pressure gradient and often can explain TE concentrations. The history of the land-use types was identified as a factor that allowed understanding the contamination and pollution by TEs. Urban wood soils were found to be more contaminated and polluted than urban lawns, probably because woods are much older than lawns and because of the legacy of the historical management of soils in the Paris region (Haussmann period). Lawn soils are similar to the fertile agricultural soils and relatively recently (mostly from the 1950s onwards) imported from the surrounding of Paris, so that they may be less influenced by urban conditions in terms of TE concentrations. Urban wood soils are heavily polluted by Cd, posing a high risk to the biological communities. The concentration of anthropogenic TEs increased from the rural to the urban areas, and the concentrations of most anthropogenic TEs in urban areas were equivalent to or above the regulatory reference values, raising the question of longer-term monitoring.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)938-948
    Number of pages11
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017


    • Forests
    • Green spaces
    • Lawns
    • Soils
    • Trace elements
    • Urban-rural gradient

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Pollution

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