Identification of processes governing long-term accumulation of 137Cs by forest trees following the Chernobyl accident
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The regularities of 137Cs distribution in trees (Pinus sylvestris and Betula pendula) growing in different types of forest ecosystems were investigated. High levels of heterogeneity of 137Cs activity concentrations in different parts of the trees, resulting from their varied metabolism have been shown. The data obtained demonstrate a non-uniform character of 137Cs distribution along the trunks, which can be explained by radio- nuclide fixation by the xylem vessel walls and by geometry changes along the tree trunk. It has been found that the radial distribution of 137Cs in the tree trunk is dependent on the availability of 137Cs in soil, which governs the transfer of this radionuclide via xylem sap and on the properties of the xylem. The accumulation of 137Cs by trees was influenced by the vertical distribution and availability of 137Cs in the soil as well as by the root biomass distribution in different soil horizons. A bioavailability factor, which takes into account the vertical distribution of radiocesium in soil, bioavailability of this radionuclide and distribution of root biomass in different soil horizons is proposed for comparative analyses of 137Cs transfer from soil to trees in different types of forest ecosystems.
KeywordsForest Ecosystem Vertical Distribution Root Biomass Radial Distribution Forest Tree
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