Spatial variability of heavy metals in the coastal soils under long-term reclamation

L. Wang, Neil Coles, C. Wu, J. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. The coastal plain of Cixi City, China, has experienced over 1000 years of reclamation. With the rapid development of agriculture and industry after reclamation, successive inputs into agricultural soils have drastically modified the soil environment. To determine the spatial distribution of heavy metals and to evaluate the influence of anthropogenic activities, a total of 329 top soil samples were taken along a transect on the coastal plain. The samples collected across 11 sea dikes, were selected by a nested sampling methodology. Total Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn concentrations, as well as their diethylenetriamine penta-acetic acid (DTPA) extractable (available) concentrations were determined. Results indicated that except for Zn concentrations, there was neither heavy metals pollution nor mineral deficiency in the soils. Heavy metals exhibited considerable spatial variability, obvious spatial dependence, and close relationships on the reclaimed land. For most metals, the reclamation history was the main influencing factor. Metals concentrations generally showed discontinuities around the position of sea dikes, and the longer reclamation histories tended to have higher metals concentrations than the recently reclaimed sectors. As for Cu and Zn total concentrations, stochastic factors, like industrial waste discharge, fertilization and pesticide application, probably led to the high nugget effect and altered this relationship. The 6th and 10th zones generally had the highest total metals concentrations, due to the concentration of household appliance manufacturers in these reclaimed areas. The first two zones were characterized by high available metals concentrations, probably due to the alternant flooding and emergence, low pH values and high organic matter contents in these paddy field soils. From the 3rd to 7th zones with the same land use history and soil type, metals concentrations, especially available concentrations, showed homogeneity. The nested sampling method adopted demonstrated that the 500-m interval was enough to capture the spatial variation of the metals. These results were useful in evaluating the variation in the environment quality of the soils under long-term reclamation and to formulate plans for future reclamation projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-317
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatial variability of heavy metals in the coastal soils under long-term reclamation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this