About this Research Topic
The usefulness of soil geochemical maps of element distribution was initially aimed at mineral prospecting. However, with the advancement of environmental awareness and strengthening of the principles of sustainability, the elaboration of geochemical maps and efforts to define high quality geochemical background/baseline values of elements are of enormous potential to support the monitoring of the effects of anthropogenic actions on the natural environment and the possibility of better quantification of possible impacts, which is crucial for mitigation actions. Geochemical background values are also being used to develop appropriate guideline/intervention values that will evaluate the risks and suitability of cultivation and management of contaminated lands.
To date, there has been only limited regional/national scale research carried out on geochemical mapping of potentially toxic elements (PTE) and on defining their background/baseline levels in agricultural/urban soils. This aspect is of fundamental importance because there is a growing tendency to propose environmental regulatory standards that define reference values for different elements, without taking into account the complex natural reality and the fact that there are significant variations in the distribution of elements that are unique and a direct reflection of the natural environment - that is, they are geogenic in character - and which need to be taken into account when defining reference values or baselines for assessing anthropogenic impacts. The knowledge of geochemical background is important for identifying anomalous values and their sources. Therefore, this topic will scale-up compressive research on a large scale to define the background/baseline level of the major contaminants at regional/national scale to evaluate the risk of agricultural/urban soil contamination at present and future in the region. Also, this regional mapping will also contribute to national/global/continental mapping of PTEs in soils.
The focus of this Research Topic is on:
1. Establishing the geochemical background/baseline levels of PTEs and pesticides in agricultural soil:
- Development of more sophisticated applications and new features, integrating the areas of computing (e.g. database), geoinformation (GIS) computer-base model for achieving better results in the area of geochemical mapping;
- Integration of multivariate statistics with GIS mapping for defining geochemical background;
- Sampling strategy for high/low density sampling for regional/national/continental scale mapping;
- Integrating geology, geomorphology, land use/land cover, drainage pattern map of the region to develop regional scale mapping.
2. Application of geochemical background in developing guideline/intervention values that will evaluate the environmental risks.
Keywords: Geochemical mapping, Background/Baseline values, Potentially Toxic Elements, Soil management
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