Regional-scale fluxes of zinc, copper, and nickel into and out of the agricultural soils of the Kermanshah province in western Iran

Abstract

It is important to study the status and trend of soil contamination with trace elements to make sustainable management strategies for agricultural soils. This study was conducted in order to model zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), and nickel (Ni) accumulation rates in agricultural soils of Kermanshah province using input and output fluxes mass balance and to evaluate the associated uncertainties. The input and output fluxes of Zn, Cu, and Ni into (from) the agricultural soils of Kermanshah province via livestock manure, mineral fertilizers, municipal waste compost, pesticides, atmospheric deposition, and crop removal were assessed for the period 2000–2014. The data were collected to compute the fluxes at both township and regional scales from available databases such as regional agricultural statistics. The basic units of the balance were 9 townships of Kermanshah province. Averaged over the entire study region, the estimated net fluxes of Zn, Cu, and Ni into agricultural soils were 341, 84, and131 g ha year−1, with a range of 211 to 1621, 61 to 463, and 114 to 679 among the townships. The livestock manure was responsible for 55, 56, and 67 % of the total Zn, Cu, and Ni inputs at regional scale, while municipal waste compost and mineral fertilizers accounted for approximately 19, 38, and 15 % and 24, 4, and 14 % of the total Zn, Cu, and Ni inputs, respectively. Atmospheric deposition was a considerable source only for Ni and at township scale (7–29 % of total Ni input). For Zn, Cu, and Ni, the input-to-output ratio of the fluxes ranged from 1.8 to 48.9, 2 to 48.2, and 4 to 303 among townships and averaged 2.8, 3, and 9 for the entire study area, respectively. Considering that outputs other than with crop harvests are minor, this means that Zn, Cu, and Ni (in particular Ni) stocks are rapidly building up in soils of some parts of the study region. Uncertainties in the livestock manure and crop removal data were the main sources of estimation uncertainty in this study. This study provides the basic information to develop policies for controlling the trace elements inputs into agricultural soils of the study area.

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Ahmadi Doabi, S., Karami, M. & Afyuni, M. Regional-scale fluxes of zinc, copper, and nickel into and out of the agricultural soils of the Kermanshah province in western Iran. Environ Monit Assess 188, 216 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-016-5225-3

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Keywords

  • Mass flux assessment
  • Agricultural soil
  • Trace elements
  • Atmospheric deposition
  • Estimation uncertainty