Heavy metal contamination of soil and tree-ring in urban forest around highway in Shanghai, China

Jun Li Xu, Bei Bei Jing, Kai Xuan Zhang, Yi Chong Cui, Dan Malkinson, Daniella Kopel, Kun Song, Liang Jun Da

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The heavy metal (HM) pollution of forest soil has been known as one of the most challenging pollution issues due to their characteristics. In order to know the HM pollution condition in urban forest, identify the possible source of HM, 102 sub-samples of soil in 34 sites and 39 tree rings sub-samples in 7 sites were collected in the outer-ring greenbelt (ORG) in Shanghai, China. Concentrations of Cu, Zn, Pb, and Cd in soil and tree rings were analyzed, and the soil properties pH, total nitrogen, total phosphorous, and organic matter were analyzed too. Geo-accumulation index and potential ecological risk index were used for assessing the contamination level of HMs. Nonparametric tests, one-way analysis of variance, correlation analysis, and principal component analysis were applied. The results showed that: (1) concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Cd in soil were significantly higher than their corresponding background values of Shanghai (BVs); concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Pb in tree rings increased gradually in the past 10 years; (2) Zn and Cd were in unpolluted to moderately polluted level, Cd has moderate degree potential ecological risk; (3) vehicle exhausts and abrasion of vehicle parts of tires and historical agricultural activities were the main sources of HM contamination; (4) Cinnamomum camphora (L.) Presl. has the potential to reconstruct the change of Cu, Zn, and Pb as a bioindicator. In conclusion, Cd should be considered as a priority control component. The relationship between plant and soil should take further focus and more studies of the behavior of HMs in soil and plants are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1745-1762
Number of pages18
JournalHuman and Ecological Risk Assessment (HERA)
Issue number7
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • geo-accumulation index
  • greenbelt
  • potential ecological risk index
  • soil
  • tree-ring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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