Potentially harmful elements in terraced agroecosystems of NE Italy: Geogenic vs anthropogenic enrichmentJournal of Geochemical Exploration

About

Authors
Mohammad Wahsha, Claudio Bini, Diana Zilioli, Massimo Spiandorello, Michela Gallo
Year
2014
DOI
10.1016/j.gexplo.2014.01.012
Subject
Economic Geology / Geochemistry and Petrology

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Available online xxxx

Keywords:

Alpine soils

Heavy metals

Anthropogenic enrichment

Terraced landscape an-induced land transformations since many centuries is the terraced landform, an

Soil is a limited resource, scarcely renewable, which plays sev- A tool to evaluate soil contamination is monitoring trace eleJournal of Geochemical Exploration xxx (2014) xxx–xxx

GEXPLO-05289; No of Pages 8

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Geochem l seral important functions, both biotic and abiotic, ecologic and socioeconomic. Its genesis and evolution is strictly related to pedogenetic factors, both natural and anthropic, and its characteristics are related primarily to parent material and to biochemical processes that it has undergone (Fontana et al., 2010).

One of the most important man-induced land transformations since many centuries is the terraced landform, an agricultural technique that characterizes many agroecosystems all over the world. In mountain regions with steep morphology, soil levelling enables to have nearly flat land, where soil and water are available for agriculture (Kribek ment concentration with reference to baseline levels (Salminen and Tarvainen, 1997). In current literature several reference values are available (Kabata Pendias and Pendias, 2001; Steinnes, 2009;

Taylor, 1964); anomalies in comparison to those valuesmay be related to particular chemical characteristics or may indicate contamination phenomena.

Significant differences in metal concentration may be recorded among various soil types: alluvial soils may record flooding episodes with metals convoyed by water along riverbeds (Zilioli et al., 2011); mountain soils may have lost most metals by erosion, wetland areaset al., 2010). Land use change, therefore, ma impact and a threat to the environment, no point of view, but also for possible consequ in an inappropriate manner (Zilioli et al., 2 ⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 412348918; fax: +3

E-mail address: Bini@unive.it (C. Bini). 0375-6742/$ – see front matter © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All ri http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gexplo.2014.01.012

Please cite this article as: Wahsha, M., et al. enrichment, J. Geochem. Explor. (2014), httpcharacteristic, therefore, is fundamental to understand its evolution, potential land use and management, protection and restoration.1. Introductionwere: i) to evaluate the background level of heavy metals in soils of a terraced ecosystem in the proximity of the

Dolomites Natural Park, in northern Italy; ii) to ascertain the metal concentration range and spatial distribution; iii) to identify possible contamination of some sites, and the related environmental hazard.

Six different terraced landformswere selected; totally, 32 representative soil profiles were opened and sampled.

Specific analyses of 15 potentially harmful trace elements (Sb, As, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Hg, Ni, Pb, Cu, Se, Sn, Tl, V and Zn) were carried out in the laboratory by ICPMS after digestion with aqua regia.

Background levels of heavy metals in the soils investigated are consistent with currently recorded trace element concentrations of soils fromWestern Europe. A geological matrix effect may be accounted for metal release by parentmaterial weathering. Nevertheless,metal accumulation in surface horizons at some sites has been recorded, andmay be ascribed to atmospheric input. The extreme parts of the territory investigated, moreover, present significant concentrations of some metals. In particular, Cu, Pb and Zn contents in surface horizons suggest an anthropogenic enrichment. The human contribution could be due to past mine activities in the close vicinity, and metals have been probably vehicled southward through stream and/or wind transport. Moreover, Sn shows amounts overall above the allowed legislation threshold. In some cases it was not possible to assess if the presence, or the concentration level, of a metal could be related to natural sources or to recent, or past, human activities. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.Received 29 September 2013

Accepted 13 January 2014 agricultural technique that characterizes many agroecosystems all over the world. In this study, our objectives

Article history: One of the most important mPotentially harmful elements in terraced a anthropogenic enrichment

Mohammad Wahsha a, Claudio Bini b,⁎, Diana Zilioli b, a Marine Science Station, The University of Jordan, Aqaba Branch, Jordan b Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, Ca' Foscari University of V c CHELAB Chemical Laboratories, Treviso, Italy a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f o j ourna l homepage: www.ey represent a significant t only from the physical ences of using the land 011). Knowledge of soil 9 412348584. ghts reserved. , Potentially harmful element ://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gexploecosystems of NE Italy: Geogenic vs ssimo Spiandorello b, Michela Gallo c , Italy ical Exploration ev ie r .com/ locate / jgeoexpmay act as a sink for metals linked to organic matter, in the proximity of mine areas soils may result enriched in trace elements released by ore minerals (Bini, 2012). The natural background, therefore, may vary widely, and be much higher in comparison to data from literature. To define the pedo-geochemical background of a given area, several criteria have been proposed (Baize and Sterckeman, 2004;

Kribek et al., 2010; Salminen and Tarvainen, 1997; Ungaro et al., 2008). s in terraced agroecosystems of NE Italy: Geogenic vs anthropogenic o.2014.01.012

According to Baize and Sterckeman (2004), metal content in soil is generally consistent with that of the parent material. High metal contents in surface horizons, with a decreasing trend with depth, may indicate anthropogenic contamination (e.g. atmospheric input or discharge), unless local characteristics could explain such trend. Another possible background definition is the “typological approach” as defined in the system ISO 19258:2005, i.e. to compare metal concentration in the same soil type (e.g. eutric cambisols), selecting non-contaminated sites, and sites that received anthropogenic inputs (e.g. industrial areas), or naturally enriched (e.g. mine areas, serpentine soils) (Bini et al., 2010).