Spatiotemporal Changes in Atmospheric Deposition Rates Across The Czech Republic Estimated in The Selected Biomonitoring Campaigns. Examples of Results Available For Landscape Ecology and Land Use Planning

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Abstract

Several large-scale and fine-scale biomonitoring surveys were carried out in the Czech Republic to estimate current and long-term accumulated atmospheric deposition rates using moss, spruce bark and forest floor humus as bioindicators since the end of 1980s. The results of the bioindicator analyses significantly correlated with available figures of deposition rates detected at the EMEP or Czech national measurement stations.

The moss monitoring programmes revealed position of about 7 hot spots of high deposition loads of about 35-40 elements and indicated spatiotemporal decrease in the element deposition rates caused by restructuralization of industry, desulphurization of coal power plants and ceased distribution of leaded petrol. The deposition loads of toxic and risk elements have significantly decreased since the end of 1980s; however, increasing atmospheric deposition rates of reactive nitrogen has been bioindicated recently. The fine-scale moss monitoring campaigns, for example, delimited deposition zones around selected emission sources, revealed changes in deposition rates after introducing new technologies or delimited contaminated area in the surroundings of a chlor-alkali plant after a catastrophic flood episode. Deposition ranges of main pollution sources were mapped depicting the aerial distribution of stable lead isotopic ratios in moss, because the isotopic ratios are highly specific for each pollution source.

Monitoring the spruce bark parameters enabled to recognise the distribution of acid rain, dust and sulphate deposition rates and their spatiotemporal changes across the country between 1987 and 2010. The bark investigations along altitudinal profiles showed diminishing effect of air pollution on spruce bark parameters with increasing elevation. This phenomenon can be explained by a decreasing capacity of reduced tree crowns to trap air pollutants in the mountain environment.

The mapping of element content in forest floor humus revealed position of long-term spots of high accumulation of industrial pollutants and Chernobyl-derived 137Cs in forests. Knowledge of these hot spots is important for health and environmental protection mainly in the areas where most of the former emission sources were cancelled and the current low atmospheric deposition rates may make a false impression of the clean landscape.

The data of the Czech national moss biomonitoring surveys were accepted and stored in the database of UN ECE ICP-Vegetation for checking of air pollution and its possible effects on vegetation in Europe.

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