Ecosystem Services, Agriculture and Trace Metals
Start date: 14 September 2011
Trace metals enter agroecosystems from many sources, but the use of organic by-products as fertilsers is the principle source. Trace metals added to soils in this way can cause toxicity to important organisms involved in the provision of ecosystem services. Whilst the use of sewage sludge is controlled to prevent the build up of trace metals in soils to damaging levels, the use of other organic by-products is not. In this paper, we examine the likelihood that the use of organic by-products other than sewage sludge can damage important constituents of agroecosystems. The results indicate that there is a lack of evidence and management of a potential serious threat to soil fertility and therefore fundamental ecosystem services such as food provision.