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Human activities have dramatically changed the composition and organisation of soils. Industrial and urban wastes, agricultural application and also mining activities resulted in an increased concentration of heavy metals in soils. How plants and soil microorganisms cope with this situation and the sophisticated techniques developed for survival in contaminated soils is discussed in this volume. The topics presented include: the general role of heavy metals in biological soil systems; the relation of inorganic and organic pollutions; heavy metal, salt tolerance and combined effects with salinity; effects on abuscular mycorrhizal and on saprophytic soil fungi; heavy metal resistance by streptomycetes; trace element determination of environmental samples; the use of microbiological communities as indicators; phytostabilization of lead polluted sites by native plants; effects of soil earthworms on removal of heavy metals and the remediation of heavy metal contaminated tropical land.