[Impacts of landscape patterns on heavy metal contamination of agricultural top soils in the Pearl River Delta, South China].Ying Yong Sheng Tai Xue Bao. 2015 Apr; 26(4):1137-44.YY
Landscape patterns are known to influence many ecological processes, but the relationship between landscape patterns and soil pollution processes is not well understood. Based on 300 top soil samples, land use and cover map for the Pearl River Delta (PRD) of 2005, this study explored the characteristics and spatial pattern of heavy metal contamination of agricultural top soils and examined the impacts of landscape patterns on the heavy metal contamination in the buffers of soil samples. Research methods included geostatistical analysis, landscape pattern analysis, single-factor pollution indices, and Pearson correlation analysis. We found that: 1) out of the 235 agricultural soil samples, 3.8%, 0.4%, 17.0% and 9.4% samples exceeded the Grade II national standard for As, Pb, Cd and Ni concentrations respectively. High pollution levels were found in three cities, Guangzhou, Foshan and Zhongshan; 2) soils in the farmland were more polluted than those in the forest and orchard land, and there were no differences among different agricultural land use types in contamination level of each heavy metal (except Cd); and 3) the proportion, mean patch area as well as the degree of landscape fragmentation, landscape-level structural complexity and aggregation/connectivity of water at the buffer zone were significantly positively correlated with the contamination level of each of the four heavy metals in agricultural top soils. Part of the landscape pattern of urban land in the buffer zone also positively correlated with Pb and Cd levels (P < 0.05). On the contrary, the proportion, mean patch area and aggregation degree of forest land negatively correlated with soil Pb and Ni levels (P < 0.05); and 4) the closer to the industry land were the soil samples, the more polluted the soils were for Pb, Cd and Ni. Only landscape diversity was found to be positively correlated with soil Cd contamination. The study results provide new information and scientific basis for heavy metal pollution control and remediation, especially for agricultural soils in the PRD.