Spatial variability and temporal changes in the heavy metal content of soils with a deep furrow-and-ridge microrelief formed by an afforestation plowing

Kabala, Cezary; Bojko, Oskar; Medynska, Agnieszka; Szczepaniak, Agnieszka
June 2013
Environmental Monitoring & Assessment;Jun2013, Vol. 185 Issue 6, p5141
Academic Journal
An appropriate sampling method that provides for the representation of the collected material and the reliability of results plays a crucial role in environmental monitoring. This is especially important in soil quality investigations on sites with a differentiated surface microrelief, as in the case of afforested post-arable soils that have a specific, deep furrow-and-ridge microrelief. The present research was carried out on three sites afforested with pine (4-, 8-, and 15-year-old stands) located near a large tailings pond collecting the wastes from copper ore enrichment. Soils were sampled at depths of 0-10 and 0-30 cm, separately in the furrows and ridges. The 'wide-furrow plow' contributed to the spatial variation in soil properties, including higher pH, organic carbon, and Cu content in soils of the ridges. The difference in Cu content in the ridges and furrows initially reached 300 %, and decreased with the decline of the furrow-and-ridge microrelief to 60 % at 15 years after the plowing. Observed rate of the furrow shallowing allows for an estimation of the time necessary for the complete disappearance of the furrow-and-ridge microrelief and associated variability in soil properties to at least 30-40 years after the plowing. Afforestation plowing had little impact on the Zn variability which was not influenced by the emissions from the tailings pond. Soil sampling in contaminated sites with furrow-and-ridge microrelief must collect equal quantities of soil samples from both furrows and ridges to allow a reliable estimation of the mean trace elements' concentration.


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