Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 410–422 | Cite as

Multivariate association of regional factors with heavy metal concentrations in moss and natural surface soil sampled across Norway between 1990 and 2010

  • Michaela MeyerEmail author
  • Winfried Schröder
  • Roland Pesch
  • Eiliv Steinnes
  • Hilde Thelle Uggerud



Assessing effects of air pollution needs the monitoring of atmospheric deposition. At least for enhancing the spatial resolution of measuring deposition by use of technical devices and of deposition modeling, mosses are used complementarily as biomonitors. In Norway, since 1985, nationwide surveys have been carried out every 5 years. This study aimed at investigating statistical relationships between heavy metal concentrations in samples of moss and natural surface soil, collected in spatial dense networks covering Norway, and regional factors.

Materials and methods

Heavy metal (HM) concentrations in moss samples collected in 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010 and in natural surface soil specimens sampled in 1995 and 2005 across Norway were assessed statistically. Classification and regression trees were computed in order to uncover multivariate relationships between HM concentrations in moss and natural surface soil and potential influencing environmental factors that were integrated into the multivariate analyses.

Results and discussion

Atmospheric deposition of HM could be proved as the strongest predictor for HM concentrations in moss and natural surface soil samples. Land use within a 5-km radius and population density around the sampling sites were identified as further predictors of HM concentrations in moss and natural surface soil.


HM monitoring with moss and natural surface soil samples indicates complementarily atmospheric deposition and thus should be carried out as long-term observation.


Accumulation Cadmium Geostatistics Lead Mercury Multivariate statistics 


Authors’ contribution

WS headed the investigation and the writing. ES and HU supplied the moss and soil data. RP and MM conducted the computations, and MM prepared them for the article. MM and WS participated in writing of the article. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaela Meyer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Winfried Schröder
    • 1
  • Roland Pesch
    • 1
  • Eiliv Steinnes
    • 2
  • Hilde Thelle Uggerud
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Landscape EcologyUniversity of VechtaVechtaGermany
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.NILU - Norwegian Institute for Air ResearchKjellerNorway

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