" BES Project Abstracts 2006
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

The Spatial Dynamics of Lead Levels in Urban Soil and Correlations with Land Cover in Baltimore, Maryland.
Schwarz, Kirsten
Co-Authors: Schwarz, K., S.T.A. Pickett, M.L. Cadenasso, R.V. Pouyat, and I.D. Yesilonis
Abstract: Ecologists have traditionally assumed that land use is a predictor of ecosystem services. An important service in urban systems is lead sequestration. Landscape features in urban ecosystems, including soil, roads, buildings, and trees have varying abilities to sequester lead. This research addresses whether land cover, which identifies individual landscape features, is correlated with lead levels in soil. This research further addresses whether the spatial arrangement of landscape features is significant to lead sequestration. Soil variables collected in Baltimore, MD in 1999 for the Urban Forest Effects Model (UFORE) were spatially joined to an urban land cover classification, HERCULES (High Ecological Resolution Classification for Urban Landscapes and Environmental Systems) to examine possible correlations between landscape elements and lead levels in soil. A 30m (radius) buffer was added to each of the 125 UFORE sampling points. Within that buffer, individual landscape features (bare soil, coarse vegetation, fine vegetation, buildings, and roads) were classified using a heads-up digitizing technique. Although regression analyses show no significant correlation between any individual landscape feature and soil lead levels, there are trends showing higher soil lead levels with increasing building and road densities within the 30m buffers. Further analysis will address how the spatial arrangement of landscape features affects lead retention in urban systems.