Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-18
https://doi.org/10.5194/soil-2021-18

  14 Apr 2021

14 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

The effects of sealing on urban soil carbon and nutrients

Roisin O'Riordan1, Jess Davies1,2, Carly Stevens1, and John N. Quinton1 Roisin O'Riordan et al.
  • 1Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, UK
  • 2Centre for Global Eco-Innovation, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, UK

Abstract. Urban soils are of increasing interest for their potential to provide ecosystem services such as carbon storage and nutrient cycling. Despite this, there is limited knowledge on how soil sealing with impervious surfaces, a common disturbance in urban environments, affects these important ecosystem services. In this paper, we investigate the effect of soil sealing on soil properties, soil carbon and soil nutrient stocks. We undertook a comparative survey of sealed and unsealed greenspace soils across the UK city of Manchester. Our results reveal that the context of urban soil and the anthropogenic artefacts added to soil have a great influence on soil properties and functions. In general, sealing reduced soil carbon and nutrient stocks compared to greenspace soil, however, where there were anthropogenic additions of organic and mineral artefacts this led to increases in soil carbon and nitrate content. Anthropogenic additions led to carbon stocks equivalent to or larger than those in greenspaces, potentially of a stable nature with long residence times. This suggests that in areas with an industrial past, anthropogenic additions can lead to a legacy carbon store in urban soil and make important contributions to urban soil carbon budgets. These findings shed light on the heterogeneity of urban sealed soil and the influence of anthropogenic artefacts on soil functions. Our research highlights the need to gain further understanding into urban soil processes, in both sealed and unsealed soils, and the influence and legacy of anthropogenic additions on soil functions and important ecosystem services.

Roisin O'Riordan et al.

Status: open (until 14 Jun 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on soil-2021-18', Anonymous Referee #1, 07 May 2021 reply

Roisin O'Riordan et al.

Roisin O'Riordan et al.

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Short summary
As urban populations grow, soil sealing with impermeable surfaces will increase. At present there is limited knowledge on the effect of sealing on soil carbon and nutrients. We found that in general, sealing reduced soil carbon and nutrients, however, where there were additions of material due to human activity, soil carbon and nutrients were increased. This suggests there is a legacy soil carbon store in areas with an industrial past and highlights the influence of artefacts in urban soil.