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An inventory of trace element inputs to agricultural soils in China

Luo, Lei, Ma, Yibing, Zhang, Shuzhen, Wei, Dongpu, Zhu, Yong-Guan
Journal of environmental management 2009 v.90 no.8 pp. 2524-2530
agricultural soils, soil pollution, atmospheric deposition, inventories, trace elements, heavy metals, animal manures, fertilizers, agrochemicals, sewage sludge, wastewater irrigation, toxic substances, risk assessment, risk management, China
It is important to understand the status and extent of soil contamination with trace elements to make sustainable management strategies for agricultural soils. The inputs of trace elements to agricultural soils via atmospheric deposition, livestock manures, fertilizers and agrochemicals, sewage irrigation and sewage sludge in China were analyzed and an annual inventory of trace element inputs was developed. The results showed that atmospheric deposition was responsible for 43-85% of the total As, Cr, Hg, Ni and Pb inputs, while livestock manures accounted for approximately 55%, 69% and 51% of the total Cd, Cu and Zn inputs, respectively. Among the elements concerned, Cd was a top priority in agricultural soils in China, with an average input rate of 0.004 mg/kg/yr in the plough layer (0-20 cm). Due to the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the sources, the inventory as well as the environmental risks of trace elements in soils varies on a regional scale. For example, sewage sludge and fertilizers (mainly organic and phosphate-based inorganic fertilizers) can also be the predominant sources of trace elements where these materials were excessively applied. This work provides baseline information to develop policies to control and reduce toxic element inputs to and accumulation in agricultural soils.