Current issue: 55(2)
The use of forest mosses as bioindicators was tested with transplanted experiments. One transplantation experiment was made to study effects of air pollutants on two forest moss species, Hylocomnium splendens (Hedw.) Schimp. and Pleurozium schreberi (Willd. ex Brid.) Mitt. Another transplantation was used to study the nitrogen fixation capacity of blue-green algae in the Hylocomnium and Pleurozium moss layers. The surface structure of the moss species was studied by scanning electron microscopy. The air pollution induced changes in the surface structure of moss cells were observable soon after the transplantation. In polluted industrial areas the fertilizing effect of air-borne nitrogen compounds increased the photosynthetic activity of mosses before their destruction. Stress respiration was also observable in polluted areas. The nitrogen fixing capacity decreased or was almost inhibited in all the air-polluted environments.
A comparison study concerning the effects of acid rain on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings has been performed. Two different X-ray fluorescence methods, PIXE and IXRF, were employed to produce multielement analyses of the samples. Seedlings were treated for 3 months with watering of pH=7 or pH=3 liquids on the needles and on the roots. One year and two years old needles of the seedlings were inspected for changes in photosynthetic rate as well as for changes in elemental concentrations.
Twelve elements from Si to Zn were compared in the samples. The PIXE results show that the amounts of most of these elements in the needles of the seedlings grown in sand increase, when treated with acid water. This growth is clearer when the roots are treated with acid water. The elemental concentrations of the needles in the seedlings grown in soil on the other hand decrease slightly.
Fertilizer factory has been found to be harmful to the surrounding area through its fertilizing effect, mainly due to nitrogen compounds in the form of NOx and ammonium. In this study, pH, K, Ca and Mg contents in the humus layer were monthly monitored around a fertilizer industry in Oulu, Northern Finland, in 1975 and 1976. In addition, nutrient analyses were made in the leaves of Vaccinium vitis-idaea, V. myrtillus and Empetrum Nigrum.
The calcium, magnesium and potassium present in the emission of airborne fertilizer dust brought about an increase of the nutrient content of the surface top soil humus compared with the control samples. The nutrient contents of dwarf shrub leaves increased near the industrial site as compared with the controls. The potassium contents of Vaccinium myrtillus and Empetrum nigrum were exceptionally high. The results of this pilot study show that the overfertilization must have had an increasing effect on the nutrient status changes in the forest environment.
A model was constructed, the aim of which was to predict growth under conditions where air pollutants are present. The model is based on photosynthesis and on the allocation of photosynthetic products for growth. It is assumed that air pollutants released during energy production mainly affect photosynthesis in two ways: 1) directly by injuring the photosynthetic mechanism, and 2) indirectly by leaching nutrients. The two ways were studied empirically in order to identify a sub-model for the photosynthesis of a plant exposed to air pollutants.
The stand model will be applied to two purposes. The present stage of forests in Finland is compared with the simulated state based on the assumption that no pollutants are present. In addition, the decrease in forest yield under different conditions derived from predictions about long-range pollutant transport in Europe is analysed.
Several studies of air polluted forest environments have shown that dwarf shrubs suffer from air pollution. In many cases the disturbances have been attributed to the susceptibility of the dwarf shrubs, while in some cases the vegetational competition factor has been discussed. The growth pattern of dwarf shrubs is very complicated and a single individual can cover large areas due to vegetative reproduction. Since dwarf shrub individuals cannot be transplanted for the purpose of laboratory or field tests, the only possibility is to use small cuttings for the bioindication studies. Some preliminary results are discussed.
The ultrastructure of Hypogymnia physodes (L.) Nyl. and Alectoria capillaris (Bryoria capillaris (Ach.) Brodo & D. Hawksw.) grown or transplanted near a fertilizer plant and a pulp mill was compared to normal ultrastructure of these lichen species. The ultrastructural changes observed were highly similar in the symbionts of both species and near both the factories although the emissions are different. In the lichens grown near the factories the number of algae had clearly increased. The appearance of the chloroplasts was roundish compared to controls. The pyrenoglobuli and cytoplasmic storage bodies were smaller than normally and the number of polyphosphate bodies had increased. Also, in mycobionts storage droplets were very small or absent and many vacuoles and dark inclusions appeared to hyphae in contrast to controls. In transplanted lichen there existed mainly the same ultrastructural changes as in the lichen grown near factories. Near the fertilizer plant the damage was, however, more severe because all the lichens died during 6–7 months after transplantation. Near the pulp mill part of the lichens survived and seemed to adapt to air pollution.
A method to determine sulphur as sulphate has been applied to search for surface concentration of sulphate sulphur on needle samples. The method is based on reducing sulphates as volatile hydrogen sulphide gas by using hydriodic acid. The hydrogen sulphide gas is swept with nitrogen into an absorbent solution. Sulphide ion concentration in solution is then measured using ion selective electrodes.
The method was applied on one to four years old needle samples collected from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) at 0.9 to 15.9 km distances from a 1,064 MW coal-fired power plant in Southern Finland. Surface sulphate values found in the samples closer than 4 km to the power plant were 50 to 100% higher than a nearly constant background level. No significant variation of values with needle age was found. The advantages of the method compares to other methods for sulphur determination are speed, reasonable sensitivity and low detection limit.
At immediate surroundings of a fiberglass plant in Central Sweden, vegetation shows toxicity symptoms. Soils and birch (Betula pendula Roth) leaves were sampled. The soil was analysed for water soluble and organic bound boron, carbon, nitrogen, and pH. Vegetation was analysed for total boron. Both fractions of boron in the soils increased towards the factory. Organic bound boron increased irregularly because of its strong correlation to carbon content which varied in the area. The C/N ratio increased nearer the industry due to the harmful effect of boron on the decomposition of organic matter. No relation between pH and the distance from the emission source was visible, but B/C ratio was found to increase with increasing pH of the soil. Boron levels in birch leaves were elevated very much close to the factory. The geographical distribution of high levels of boron in birch, corresponded well with high values in soils, and also with the main wind directions. The limit values for visible injury on birch were found to be around 5 ppm of water-soluble boron in soil and around 200 ppm in leaves.
Scanning Electron Microscopy was used to study structural changes in epicuticular vax of Pinus sylvestris L. with time. Changes in the contact angle of water droplets and in cuticular transpiration were also measured. By using material from a polluted and an unpolluted site it was shown that the ageing process occurs faster on polluted air, leading to greater cuticular transpiration and smaller contact angles at polluted sites.
Increased prices on oil have resulted in the search for alternative energy sources, e.g. coal, peat, biomass, different types of waste. Combustion especially of waste, coal and peat emits large quantities of air pollutants such as heavy metals but also harmful organic substances. Heavy metals are not easily separated from the smoke, and the concentrations are often high in the emissions even with advanced fly-ash separators.
Ecological investigations carried out around a coal burning power plant in Finland using mosses and pine needles as parameters are presented in the paper. Increased concentrations of Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Cu and V have been found near the plant. Often a clear gradient was found with increased concentrations at decreased distance from the power plant.
Air-borne Cu and Zn from a brass foundry at Gusum, SE Sweden, have considerably disturbed the lichen and bryophyte vegetation in the coniferous forest environment. The occurrence of lichens on Norway spruce twigs decreased rapidly with increasing Cu concentrations in Hypogymnia physodes above 90 ppm (background value 10–15). The epiphytic vegetation is reduced within 2–3 km from the foundry. Only stunted individuals occur in the close vicinity of the pollution source.
The cover of one of the quantitatively most important mosses, Hylocomnium splendens, is greatly reduced by the heavy-metal deposition. Cover values of 20–50% are not uncommon in distant sites (Cu concentration 15–35 ppm). There is a significant negative correlation between Cu concentration in the moss and its cover. The moss cannot survive much more than ca. 130 ppm Cu (and 360 ppm Zn). Live individuals are no more found within 1.5 km from the foundry.
Monitoring of heavy metal accumulation in plants has been used to reflect the deposition of heavy metals in terrestrial ecosystems. In some cases, the accumulation rates in plants are linearly correlated to deposition measured as bulk precipitation collected in funnel samplers. It is uncertain, however, how large the contribution due to adsorption/impaction of small particles is to this relationship. The need for design of enlightening experiments on deposition rates in different vegetation types and their relation to immission and bulk precipitation data is discussed.
A semi-statistical model is suggested for monitoring injuries of plants for long-time field exposures (months). The model is based on the following assumptions:
1. The concentrations of air pollutants in the atmosphere follow the Johnson SB distribution.
2. The degree of plant injury is proportional to the logarithm of air pollutant dose.
3. No injuries occur below a certain dose level.
4. A dose is defined as the air pollutant concentration multiplied by the duration of exposure raised to an exponent.
Based on the air pollutant frequency distribution a total dose for the exposure period is calculated by integration, and the total dose is related to the observed plant injury by non-linear regression. The model is tested for long-time exposures of sulphur dioxide to transplant lichen in natural environment.
A technique for instrumental scoring of damaged leaves on tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) indicator plants caused by ozone in the lower atmosphere is being developed. The leaves are photographed in situ with an integrated unit, which illuminates the leaf from behind and keeps the camera in a well-defined position. By using microfilm and a minus green filter, it is possible to obtain negatives where the necrotic flecks appear as dark spots on a white leaf. The negatives are scanned in a TV-system and the size of the damaged fraction of the leaf is calculated by a microprosessor and is shown as a percentage of the leaf.
A monitoring program is planned for the terrestrial environment around industries in Sweden, which emit acid compounds and heavy metals. Directions for the County Government Boards are being prepared. The paper deals with the present pollution situation in Sweden, based on recent scientific results, the justifications for local monitoring, and the organizing of the monitoring including the parameters suggested.
Four examples from a case study at an oil power station illustrate reporting of the data and the difficulties in interpreting the results. The examples are the distribution of a lichen indicator, heavy metal content and phosphatase activity in the moor layer, soil respiration and tree growth.
Our preliminary findings indicate that the content of total sulphur and soluble fluorides in needles of the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) reflects the degree of air pollution with sulphur and fluorine compounds. A project for a map of air pollution in Poland, based on chemical analysis of Scots pine needles, is presented. Results of the total sulphur and soluble fluoride content in 2-year old needles from 15- to 25-year-old trees should yield a picture of air pollution with sulphur and fluorine compounds. The first stage will involve the preparation of a map of the area between the Warsaw and Plock agglomerations. This area will be divided into 10 squares with side dimension of 25 km each. Samples will be taken at 5 different sites in each square and also approximately every 5 km along a straight line between these towns.
Air pollution injury to vegetation often occurs near a fertilizer factory in Central Sweden. The causing incidence often occurs in the winter and the symptoms appear when metabolism starts in the spring. Deciduous and coniferous trees and bushes were injured in the spring of 1979. Samples of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) needles were analysed for sulphur, total fluorine and nitrogen content, some of them for nitrate and ammonium. All the compounds showed elevated levels, clearly connected with the degree of exposure of the sampling site. The levels were higher in the spring than later in the growing season, indicating involvement in metabolism or leaching. None of the compounds was significantly in excess, although, elevated to an extent to indicate the cause of injury. Most probably the nitrogen compounds were involved. The problems encountered in tracing the causing pollutant, when injury appeared long after the incidence, might be easier solved with regularly used technical monitoring and bioindicator technique.
Grasses Agropyron spicatum Pursh, Lolium perenne L. (S23) and 2-year old Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) were exposed to low SO2 concentrations under field conditions for approximately eleven weeks. SO2 was released continuously via manifold delivery systems, and provided treatment mean concentrations of 0.007 (ambient air), 0.042, 0.106 and 0.198 ppm. The concentrations in each treatment were approximately log-normally distributed, with standard geometric deviations ranging from 2.58 to 3.24. In both grass species, 0.198 ppm SO2 caused substantial reduction of total growth. In L. perenne, this was largely the result of impaired root growth, whereas both shoot and root growth of A. spicatum were reduced. 0.106 ppm SO2 had no significant effect on A. spicatum growth, but reduced root growth of L. perenne. Growth of Douglas fir was reduced in each of the tree highest concentrations, with root growth being markedly diminished, particularly on trees which showed chlorotic and necrotic injury. However, in these trees the shoot and total leaf weights tended to increase at the highest SO2 concentrations, suggesting that in these plants injury to leaves stimulated further shoot growth at the expense of root development.
Ultrastructure of mesophyll of second-year green needles of Picea abies (L.) H. Karst. and Pinus sylvestris (L.) has been studied in several polluted areas in Finland since 1976 (Soikkeli and Tuovinen 1979, Soikkeli 1981a). Four different types of injuries have been found. The types differ with the origin of the material:
1) In needles collected from areas pollute by S-communds the types with reduced grana and/or the with lightening of plastogobuli with simultaneous accumulation of lipid-like material are observed.
2) In needles expose to fluorides (alone or in addition to other pollutants) the type with swollen and/or that with curled thylakoids are found. Both of the latter have also stretched envelopes. In each type of the injury three stages of cell disruption have been described: slight-medium, severe and very severe. On the slight-medium stage the injuries are usually found only in chloroplasts. On severe stage other organelles show injuries, too. In very severe injury all cell organelles are badly disorganized or they disappear completely. The most abundant injuries are usually in needles collected after their second winter. The severity of cell injury depends on the closeness of emission source or on the measured concentration of SO2.
Information on input of acidifying compounds like SO2 and NOx is necessary to understand effects of acidification. The uptake on NO and NO2 respectively was studied on seedlings and shoots of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.). Experiments were conducted both in laboratory (NO and NO2 respectively) and in the field (NO2) under light and dark conditions. In all three cases there was a linear relationship between the uptake rate and the NOx-concentration. The uptake follows a diurnal pattern i.e. the uptake rate was strongly correlated with the stomatal movements. Uptake rates were converted to deposition rate and the results showed that field exposure with NO2 gave the higher deposition rate.
The water in different parts of a plant forms a continuum throughout the plant body. This makes it possible to record changes in the water content as changes in thickness of any part of the plant. A leaf kept in darkness has been found to change its thickness to a sufficient degree for recordings of changes in transpiration from the rest of the plant. The rapidness of the changes makes it probable that they are mirroring the stomatal movements.
The method has been used for recording of influences of SO2 as air pollutant. It has a couple of advantages over direct measurements of changes in transpiration. One is that the measurement can be used without enclosing the plant in a cuvette. Another is that possibly occurring effects on the hygrometer are eliminated. The method has until now mainly been used for wheat plants but also woody plants as Pinus and Salix have been tested.
Natural forest tree populations are adapted to their natural environment. Forest tree species under northern conditions are at the edge of their range where the short growing season and the low winter temperatures are the two main factors limiting their ecological niche. Effects of air pollution on the ecological niche, designated as the environmental conditions that permit a population to survive permanently, are discussed according to G.E. Hutchinson’s concept of the ecological niche. Air pollution as an additional stress factor influences the ecological niche either by the direct influence as an additional dimension of the ecological niche or by interaction with the other dimensions. These interactions are especially important for low level long-term effects of air pollution which can result in reduced resistance to low winter temperature or, due to reduced net assimilation, reduced capability to survive the long period of winter dormancy. These effects influence the boundary of the ecological niche and reduce the area of the biotope of the respective species.
Within the remaining biotope genetic changes in forest tree species take place. Due to individual differences in exposure and susceptibility of trees to air pollution, higher and therefore more exposed trees as well as more susceptible trees will be reduced in reproduction or even be eliminated. This causes genetic changes in the tree population.
The symposium of ’Air pollutants as additional stress factors under northern conditions’ was held in Oulu in Northern Finland during November 11–13, 1980. The symposium had four sessions: 1) the ecophysiology of air pollution effects and long-term risks of air pollution effects, 2) bioindication in forest ecosystems, 3) particle and metal problems, and 4) a general poster session mainly related to current research, and the results of the research programme on the dispersion and effects of air pollutants in forest environments financed by the Academy of Finland. Most of the posters and papers presented at the symposium have been included in the proceedings. The rest of the results presented are reviewed in research report of the programme and in the related scientific papers.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
The development of the stomatal area wax structure of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) needles was studied in flushing needles with a scanning electron microscope. The needles were obtained from eleven Finnish plus tree progenies. The needles were taken from trees that were either nearly uninfected or heavily infected by Lophodermella sulcigena (Rostr.) Höhn.
No difference in the early developmental stages of stomatal vax structure were observed between the southern Finnish, central Finnish and northern Finnish progenies. The general structure differed in the stomatal cavity chamber size. The stomatal openings were larger in heavily infected trees than in healthy trees. This might have an influence on the mechanical penetration of the fungal hyphae.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Light and economic FM-CW radar has been developed for controlling the bearing capacity of ice roads and landings on ice used for timber transportation and storage of timber in Finland. It was tested on natural ice and ice roads of three lakes in Southern Finland and one location on sea on the southren coast of Finland (a total of 166 observations). Ice thickness varied from 0 to 100 cm. Correlation coefficient between auger and radar measured ice thickness was r=0.99 and absolute error varied from -10 to +7 cm. The quality of ice had no influence, but by improving the interpretation of results, also the quality factors might be detected.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
Ethanolic sprays of GA4 or GA7 on 9-year old Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) grafts, repeated four times during the shoot elongation period, resulted in a statistically significant increase in female flowering one year after the treatment. Of the two compounds, GA4 seemed to be somewhat more efficient, yielding 47 female strobili/100 shoots vs. 36 and 6 strobili/100 shoots in GA7 and control treatments respectively. The mixture of GA4 and GA7 compounds was also applied and seemed to have an effect intermediary to those of the pure compounds. However, due to the limited amounts of material, none of the differences between the gibberellins could be statistically confirmed. Male flowering frequencies were also too low to allow any firm conclusions, but the numerical results suggested that the purified gibberellins may promote male and female flowering in different ways.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.