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Urban EcologyPatterns, Processes, and Applications$
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Jari Niemelä, Jürgen H. Breuste, Thomas Elmqvist, Glenn Guntenspergen, Philip James, and Nancy E. McIntyre

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563562.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 October 2021

Urban Soils—Characterization, Pollution, and Relevance in Urban Ecosystems

Urban Soils—Characterization, Pollution, and Relevance in Urban Ecosystems

(p.45) Chapter 1.3 Urban Soils—Characterization, Pollution, and Relevance in Urban Ecosystems
Urban Ecology

Martin Sauerwein

Oxford University Press

The chapter answers the question: what are urban soils? It provides a characterization of urban soils. These can be described as former natural or artificial soils with a specifically urban pattern of contamination, whose natural properties have been strongly modified by a wide range of human activities of varying intensities. Locally important soil contamination is discussed. Soils can be a source of contamination for humans. There are a number of typical urban soil contaminant sources and input forms. The properties of urban soils can be described by three types: urbanisation challenging natural soils, soils of technical substrates, and sealed soils. Therefore there is a typical genesis of urban soils, which is partly different from the genesis of natural soils. Soils are part of the urban ecosystem and fulfil important functions. For this reason soil functions can be divided into natural functions, archival functions, and land-use functions. The chapter shows that on the surface of urban regions, urban soil landscapes can be derived. From this, an urban soil map can be produced. Pedogenetical processes can transform and translocate materials within the soils. That leads to a classification of soils in settlements, which is based on the urban constraints (urban structural units), the location quality (depth distribution), and the local burden (material household). The chapter ends by discussing an urban soil protection concept.

Keywords:   urban soil, soil pollution, sealed soils, soil protection, soil map, urban soil landscapes, urban soil classification

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