Mapping aerial metal deposition in metropolitan areas from tree bark: A case study in Sheffield, England

Centre for Analytical Sciences, Department of Chemistry, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S3 7RF, UK.
Environmental Pollution (Impact Factor: 4.14). 10/2008; 155(1):164-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2007.10.036
Source: PubMed


We investigated the use of metals accumulated on tree bark for mapping their deposition across metropolitan Sheffield by sampling 642 trees of three common species. Mean concentrations of metals were generally an order of magnitude greater than in samples from a remote uncontaminated site. We found trivially small differences among tree species with respect to metal concentrations on bark, and in subsequent statistical analyses did not discriminate between them. We mapped the concentrations of As, Cd and Ni by lognormal universal kriging using parameters estimated by residual maximum likelihood (REML). The concentrations of Ni and Cd were greatest close to a large steel works, their probable source, and declined markedly within 500 m of it and from there more gradually over several kilometres. Arsenic was much more evenly distributed, probably as a result of locally mined coal burned in domestic fires for many years. Tree bark seems to integrate airborne pollution over time, and our findings show that sampling and analysing it are cost-effective means of mapping and identifying sources.

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    • "This may be due to the fact that measured element concentrations are integrated over the plant life and do not represent the recent environmental levels. Similar to the previous studies (El-Hasan et al., 2002; Aboal et al., 2004; Al-Alawi et al., 2007; Berlizov et al., 2007; Kuang et al., 2007; Schelle et al., 2008; Catinon et al., 2009; Lehndorff and Schwark, 2010; Sun et al., 2010; Fujiwara et al., 2011), the results of the present study have suggested that measured trace element concentrations reflect the level of atmospheric pollution and tree components (especially needles and bark) could be used as viable passive sampling alternatives to determine the spatial variation of atmospheric trace elements in a region . The present study also showed that branch samples could also be used as passive samplers. "
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    • "There is only a limited number of studies on comparative bioconcentration capacity of some of these biomonitors relative to mosses or lichens (Aboal et al. 2004; Čeburnis and Steinnes 2000; Loppi et al. 1997; Pacheco et al. 2002; Samecka- Cymerman et al. 2006; Sardans and Peñuelas 2005), and there is still a need of information in this respect, in order to find new suitable biomonitors for environmental pollutants. Tree bark was used almost exclusively in monitoring pollution on a local scale (Berlizov et al. 2007; El- Hasan et al. 2002; Fujiwara et al. 2011; Kuang et al. 2007; Pöykiö et al. 2005; Rusu et al. 2006; Schelle et al. 2008). Regional or large-scale applications (Böhm et al. 1998; Coşkun 2006; Pacheco et al. 2002) are rare, but may be of potential interest particularly in areas with dry climate or in industrialized and densely populated areas, where mosses and lichens are limited in abundance or even do not occur. "
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    • "In our study, we are analysing Cu and Zn – two trace metals that are essential to trees and which are usually discussed in articles evaluating impact of smelters or thermal power plants on environment and human health (Larsson, Helmisaari 1998; Derome, Nieminen 1998; Pärn 2001; Schelle et al. 2008; MacDonald et al. 2011; Mihaljevič et al. 2011). These two TMs differ in their behaviour in soil media and plant availability. "
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