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[en] Several trace and macro elements (n = 48) were measured in pine needle, branch, bark, tree ring, litter, and soil samples collected at 27 sites (21 industrial, 6 background) to investigate their spatial and historical variation in Aliaga industrial region in Turkey. Concentrations generally decreased with distance from the sources and the lowest ones were measured at background sites far from major sources. Spatial distribution of anthropogenic trace elements indicated that their major sources in the region are the iron-steel plants, ship-breaking activities and the petroleum refinery. Patterns of 40 elements that were detected in most of the samples were also evaluated to assess their suitability for investigation of historical variations. Observed increasing trends of several trace and macro elements (As, Cr, Fe, Mo, Ni, V, Cu, Pb, Sb, Sn, and Hg) in the tree-ring samples were representative for the variations in anthropogenic emissions and resulting atmospheric concentrations in Aliaga region. It was shown that lanthanides (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Gd, Dy, Er, Yb) could also be used for the investigation of historical variations due to specific industrial emissions (i.e., petroleum refining). Results of the present study showed that tree components, litter, and soil could be used to determine the spatial variations of atmospheric pollution in a region while tree rings could be used to assess the historical variations. - Highlights: • Iron-steel plants and refinery are the major trace element emitters in Aliaga region. • Tree components, litter and soil reflected the spatial variations of trace elements. • Elements in tree rings represented the historical variations in air pollution.