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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering >> 2014, Volume 8, Issue 5 doi: 10.1007/s11783-014-0644-2

Impacts of de-icing salt pollution on urban road greenspace: a case study of Beijing

1. College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China.2. School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.3. Museum of Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China.4. College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China.5. Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7ES, United Kingdom

Available online:2014-06-20

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De-icing salt contamination of urban soil and greenspace has been a common issue of concern in many countries for years. In the 2009/2010 winter, Beijing experienced a contamination accident resulting from the overuse of de-icing salt, reported as almost 30000 tons, which severely damaged urban vegetation alongside roadways. The methods of sampling and rating for both soil contamination and response of the plant populations were developed to rapidly assess this emergency environmental event. Results showed that the shrubs were more severely damaged than the arbors in terms of both degree and extent, as almost all of the surveyed shrubs were severely damaged from the salt contamination, while only about 1/4 of the recorded arbors were rated as “severely injured” according to the integral plant injury index. The rating of the injury level showed that the trees like a, , and the shrubs like , showed less tolerance to de-icing salt pollution. The patterns of vegetation damage demonstrated that the ever-green shrubs alongside roads and the deciduous arbors in the center of roads were most vulnerable to the salt damage.

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