Evaluation of Human-impacted Soils in Szeged (SE Hungary) with Special Emphasis on Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties

Puskás, Irén and Farsang, Andrea (2008) Evaluation of Human-impacted Soils in Szeged (SE Hungary) with Special Emphasis on Physical, Chemical and Biological Properties. In: The soils of tomorrow – Changing soil in a Changing World. Advances in GeoEcology (39). Catena Verlag, Reiskirchen, pp. 117-147. ISBN 978-3-923381-56-2


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The main differences between urban and natural soils result from the accumulation of anthropogenic materials, which form a cultural layer with specific properties and composition. Szeged is an ideal sampling area for researching urban soils due to intensive artificial infill following the 1879 Great Flood as well as other anthropogenic activities owing to the expansion of urban functions that define the morphology of soils here. We took samples at 25 sites in 2005 and 2006 from horizons of soil profiles located in city areas and peripheral profiles of the original genetic soil type for physical and chemical analysis. Average topsoil samples (0-10 cm depth, 2-4 m2) were taken near the profiles in order to determine the concentrations of heavy metals (Co, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, Cr, Cd) in these soils so as to classify them according to the toxic properties described in the World Reference Base for Soil Resources and to identify the origins of these elements (anthropogenic vs. geogenic). Topsoil samples were also collected in October 2006 at 10 sites representing three zones (city, suburban, peripheral zone) to survey some basic biological properties of mesofaunal elements and their community structure. We claim that all the soil parameters except total salt content are excellent markers of human influence. This is well supported by a discriminant analysis of the above-mentioned parameters. In our analysis of heavy metals, we distinguished elements of anthropogenic (Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn) and natural or lithogenic (Co, Cr, Cd) origin. Following a quantitative evaluation of elements, according to the proposal of the World Reference Base for Soil Resources, profiles where the concentration of any metal element exceeded the limit values in the topsoil were marked with the suffix Toxic. According to a mezofauna (oribatid mites, collembolans) investigation, it seems that the intermediate suburban zone has a more heterogeneous and stable mezofaunal community structure than the other two zones. The lowest abundance values were found in the city zone. Based on our evaluation of diagnostic properties and the results of our discriminant analysis, four main soil types can be identified in Szeged related to the degree of human influence.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QE Geology / földtudományok
Depositing User: Erika Bilicsi
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2013 13:18
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2013 13:18

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