Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2008 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Urban soil characteristics in Baltimore County and how they compare with soils in Baltimore City and Washington DC
Noonan, Emma
Co-Authors: E. Noonan, I. Yesilonis, R. Pouyat
Abstract: The Urban-Rural Demarcation Line (URDL) was established in 1967 by Baltimore County to protect rural land and to concentrate urban development within growth corridors. In the summer of 2007, the U.S. Forest Service with cooperation of the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management (DEPRM) established 200 UFORE plots within the URDL to measure vegetation structure and characterize urban soils. We present here the soil data from 130 of the 200 plots and compare these data to soil data collected from Baltimore City and Washington, DC. Soil samples in all three areas were collected at 0-5 cm and analyzed for Ag, Al, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Mo, Ni, P, Pb, Tl, Zn, K, Ca, Mg, NO3, organic matter, and pH. Spatial distribution of these characteristics was examined based on the following 9 land use classifications: commercial, forested, industrial, institutional, multi- family residential, open space, residential-large lot, residential-small lot, and transportation. Results suggest that metal concentrations were significantly lower in Baltimore County compared with Baltimore City and Washington, DC. We also saw differences in concentrations based on land use. Residential-large lot pots showed high concentrations of Al, P, Fe, and Co. Our one industrial plot showed higher levels of Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, As, Mo, Ag, Cd, Ba, Pb, and Tl than other land uses. Future analyses will include relating plant species composition with soil characteristics, projecting soil C sequestration rates, and quantifying soil quality.