Current issue: 53(3)
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of leaching of heavy metals (Cr, As, Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, Co, Mo) and earth-alkaline metal, barium (Ba), on the percolation and ditch water quality from the forest roads that contained ash in the road structures. Water quality was studied in the immediate vicinity below the ash layers as well as deeper in the road structure. Water quality was also determined in the drainage water in ditches that crossed the forest roads. A mixture of wood and peat based fly ash was used in the road structures. The treatments were: 1) no ash, 2) a 15 cm layer of ash/gravel mixture, 3) a 20 cm layer of ash/gravel mixture, 4) a 25 cm layer of ash, and 5) a 50 cm layer of ash. Large variation in the concentrations of Cr, As, Cu, Ni, Pb, Mo and Ba in the percolation water, even within the same treatment, caused difficulties to generalize the results. The concentrations of Cr, As, Ni, Pb, Mo and Ba in water samples were high in some treatment plot lysimeters containing ash compared to the control (no ash). On the other hand, many lysimeters had low and similar concentrations in water samples in the treatment plots containing ash compared to concentrations in the control plots. The ash in the roads did not affect the concentrations in the ditches. The leaching is uneven and seems to take place only from some parts of the ash layer. Risk for leaching is minimal if such parts are not widely spread.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 profitability of fast-growing trees (Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh., Acacia mangium Willd. and Melia azedarach L.) was investigated in the north-eastern and eastern provinces of Thailand. The financial, economic, and tentative environmental-economic profitability was determined separately for three fast-growing plantation tree species and for three categories of plantation managers: the private industry, the state (the Royal Forest Department) and the farmers. Fast-growing tree crops were also compared with teak (Tectona grandis L. f.), a traditional medium or long rotation species, and Para rubber (Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex A. Juss.) Müll. Arg.) which presently is the most common cultivated tree in Thailand.
The optimal rotation for Eucalyptus camaldulensis pulpwood production was eight years. This was the most profitable species in pulpwood production. In sawlog production Acacia mangium and Melia azedarach showed a better financial profitability. Para rubber was more profitable and teak less profitable than the three fast-growing species. The economic profitability was higher than the financial one, and the tentative environmental-economic profitability was slightly higher than the economic profitability.
The profitability of tree growing is sensitive to plantation yields and labour cost changes and especially to wood prices. Management options which aim at pulpwood production are more sensitive to input or output changes than those options which include sawlog production. There is an urgent need to improve the growth and yield data and to study the environmental impacts of tree plantations for all species and plantation types.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.