Current issue: 54(2)
Under compilation: 54(3)
The article is a literature review focusing on the reaction of soil respiration, litter decomposition and microflora of forest soils to various pollutants like acidic deposition, heavy metals and unusual high amounts of basic cations. There is a great deal of evidence indicating that environmental pollution affects soil microbial activity and community structure. Much of the data originates from experimental designs where high levels of pollutants were applied to the soil under field or laboratory conditions. Furthermore, many were short-term experiments designed to look for large effects. These experiments have an indicative value, but it has to be kept in mind that environmental pollution is a combination of many pollutants, mostly at low concentrations, acting over long periods of time. There is therefore consequently a demand for research performed in natural forest environments polluted with anthropogenic compounds.
The element content (Ca, Mg, K, Na, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Pb, S) of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) bark and Bryoria lichens, as well as the occurrence and coverage of epiphytic lichens and the length of Bryoria species, were studied in the vicinity of Kolari cement works, NW Finland. Fruticose Bryoria species had the highest coverage on pine trunks at a distance of 2 km or more from the cement works. At a distance of 1 km the foliose – or even crustose – Parmeliopsis species were most abundant, while nearer to the works lichens were almost completely absent. The length of Bryoria was reduced at distances of less than 2 km from the cement works. The calcium content in Bryoria species increased very steeply close to the works; by a factor of 60 at a distance of 1 km compared to 16 km. No corresponding increase in other elements was observed near the cement works. All the elements studied in pine bark showed a significant negative correlation with distance, and a significant positive correlation with the calculated dust deposition levels. There were only minor differences between the north and south of the pine trunks, or the side facing or away from the works. Pine bark analysis is recommended for element accumulation studies.
The PDF includes an abstract in English.
Quantitative variation in the elemental composition of living Scots pine needles was studied along an atmospheric pollutant gradient in the surroundings of the industrial town Harjavalta, south-western Finland. Two 9-km-long transects, each with nine sample plots, running to the S and SW from factory complex were delimited in a homogenous Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forest. Needle samples were taken from 10 trees at each site, and from two separate sites in Tuusula near Helsinki. There was considerable spatial variation in the elemental composition of the needles. Heavy metals (Cu, Fe, Zn) showed a clear pattern of exponentially decreasing concentration with increasing distance from the emission source. Sodium and potassium concentrations, as well as the ash weight and air-dry weight, also decreased. Magnesium, manganese and calcium concentrations increased with increasing distance.
The PDF includes an abstract in Finnish.
The woodland mosses Pleurozia shcreberi (Willd. ex Brid.) Mitt. and Hylocomnium splendens (Hedw.) Schimp. were used in air pollution monitoring. During late summer and autumn 1977, 44 samples of Pleurozia shcreberi were collected in semi-open coniferous forests from Southern Finland (60°N) to Northern Finland and Northern Norway (70°N). Additional 26 samples of Hylocomnium splendens were collected in similar places south of 61°30’N. Analysis of both moss species revealed decreasing concentration gradients from south to north for Cu, Fe, Pb and Zn. Conversely, Mn and Mg levels increased with latitude, while Ca did not change significantly. Some decreasing west to east concentration gradients for Cu, Zn and Pb were measured in P. schreberi and in H. splendends collected from Southern Finland.
A comparison between these two mosses showed significant differences in Cu content (ave. 22% higher in H. splendends) and Zn content (ave. 8% higher in P. schreberi). However, the differences were considered minor in relation to regional differences in Finland.
In local study of emissions from the Koverhar steel works in Southern Finland, Fe and Zn concentrations in P. schreberi and H. splendens were found to decrease significantly with increasing distance up to 6 kilometres north and south of the source.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.
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.
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 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.