Urban Soil as a Source and Sink

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Urban soils are well known to be receiving environments for material from other environmental compartments, particularly when human activity is involved. In this chapter, we start by discussing the transport of material to and from urban soils, and then consider urban soils as both sink and source for contaminants and other materials. Soils will act as a sink if the added materials persist in the soil environment. Urban soils can also be net contributors, or sources, of material to other environmental compartments, and the losses of material from soils are also strongly affected by human activities. In between these two extremes, soils (including those in urban environments) can act as a temporary sink, or transient storage, for substances which persist long enough to affect some soil functions, but are lost from the soil at a rate where significant accumulation does not occur.
To obtain a more complete understanding of the role of urban soils as a source and sink of materials, we will first discuss the most common transport mechanisms, and then move on to some discussion and examples of urban soils acting as either sinks for, or sources of, material to or from other environmental compartments. The possibility of contaminant transfers to and especially from soils means that the soils themselves, and the processes occurring in them, need to be considered when estimating the risk to humans or to receiving environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Soils
Subtitle of host publicationPrinciples and Practice
EditorsAndrew Rate
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-87316-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-87315-8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameProgress in Soil Science
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
ISSN (Print)2352-4774
ISSN (Electronic)2352-4782


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