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Spatial distribution of organic carbon fractions and δ 13C in urban soils, Shanghai, China

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image of Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution

Urban areas are characterized by diverse land-use patterns and are strongly influenced by anthropogenic activities. However, few studies have examined the effects of urbanization on concentrations of soil organic carbon (SOC) and its various components or δ 13C in urban soils. The aim of this study was to assess the spatial distribution of SOC fractions and δ 13C signatures of urban soils in Shanghai, China. The results showed that SOC fractions and δ 13C compositions differ over a range of spatial scales. The concentrations of SOC, readily oxidizable organic carbon (C), black carbon (BC) and δ 13C in surface soils (0–20 cm) were 10.5, 3.5, 6.9 g kg–1 and –24.9%, respectively, and the corresponding concentrations in deep soils (20–100 cm) were 8.4, 2.8, 6.0 g kg–1 and –23.9%. In urban soils, BC accounted for a higher proportion of the SOC pools. Concentrations of SOC, readily oxidizable organic C and BC were higher, whereas the 13C ratio was much lower in the city centre. The effects of carbon isotope fractionation were also more evident in the central urban area. The results also indicated that not only the concentrations of readily oxidizable organic C and BC but also the δ 13C values were related to the time since the soils were converted to urban use. Differences in the time since urbanization and the severity of the associated environmental impacts can be assessed using SOC fractions and δ 13C isotopic compositions because observed changes in these quantities can be attributed to the strong influence of anthropogenic activities.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Hydrological and Environmental Geology, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, Nanjing, China


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