Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 1571–1577 | Cite as

Levels and distribution of total nitrogen and total phosphorous in urban soils of Beijing, China

  • Xinghui XiaEmail author
  • Xiuli Zhao
  • Yunjia Lai
  • Haiyang Dong
Original Article


Urban soil nitrogen and phosphorus have significant implications for the soil and water quality in urban areas. The concentrations of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) of soil samples collected from six types of land use, which included residential area (RA), business area (BA), classical garden (CG), culture and education area (CEA), public green space (PGS) and roadside area (RSA) of Beijing urban area, were investigated. Results showed that the geometric mean of TP (857 mg/kg) in urban soils was slightly higher than that (745 mg/kg) in rural soils of Beijing. The concentration of soil TP was higher in the center of the city, and showed an increasing trend with the age of the urban area. The TP concentrations in the six types of land use followed the sequence of CG > BA > RSA > RA > CEA > PGS, which were affected by the use and disposal of phosphorus-containing materials in each type of land use. However, the geometric mean of TN (753.8 mg/kg) in urban soils was much lower than that (1,933.3 mg/kg) in rural soils. TN level in urban soils of Beijing had no correlation with the city’s urbanization history, and was influenced by the coverage of natural vegetation and human activities in each type of land use. This study suggested that the city’s urbanization history and land use were the main factors affecting the distribution of nitrogen and phosphorus in urban soils.


Total nitrogen (TN) Total phosphorus (TP) Land use Urban soil Beijing 



This study was supported by the Major State Basic Research Development Program (2010CB951104) and the Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET-09-0233).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinghui Xia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xiuli Zhao
    • 1
  • Yunjia Lai
    • 1
  • Haiyang Dong
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of EnvironmentBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina

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