Aerial Heavy Metal Pollution and Terrestrial Ecosystems

M. K. Hughes, N. W. Lepp, D. A. Phipps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on the consequences of the deposition of airborne heavy metal pollutants on terrestrial ecosystems. Whilst most of the available information concerns ecosystems close to roads and metal extraction or refining, particular emphasis is placed on findings of relevance to the wider, less intensely contaminated terrestrial environment. The chapter discusses the uptake, partition, retention, and loss of aerial metal pollutants by terrestrial ecosystems and with direct evidence of their impact. These elements differ in the manner and rate of their movement within and between individuals, populations, and ecosystems. They display characteristic patterns of uptake, partition, retention, and loss, which result in differential accumulation, regulation, or even concentration by various ecosystem components. The heavy metals differ in their relationship with other elements. Their ecological mobility is necessarily related to the forms in which they occur. There is a need for systematic studies of the mobility of groups of elements, including heavy metals and others, in ecosystems, which take account of the range of chemical species in which an element may exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-327
Number of pages111
JournalAdvances in Ecological Research
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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