Metal pollution in Spanish terrestrial ecosystems during the twentieth century

Josep Peuelas, Iolanda Filella

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    51 Citations (Scopus)


    We show here additional biological evidence of the alteration in global biogeochemistry by human activities during the twentieth century. The mineral concentration of herbarium specimens of 24 species of vascular plants and three species of bryophytes collected in North and East regions of Spain have substantially changed throughout the twentieth century. While V, a proxy tracer of oil pollution, exponentially increased in the last decades, other metals such as Cr, Ba, Sr, Al, Fe, Pb, Cd and Ti increased up to 1960-1970 and started to decrease in 1985-1995, when environmental legal regulations started to be effective. Multivariate principal component analysis showed an overall change in plant elemental concentrations throughout the different decades of the century and a clear separation of vascular plants and bryophytes. Likely important consequences for ecosystem structure and functioning and even for human health may be expected from these changes in mineral concentration. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)501-505
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2002


    • Bryophytes
    • Cadmium
    • Herbarium
    • Mineral
    • Vanadium
    • Vascular plants


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