Radiocesium Cycling in the Context of Forest-Water Interactions

Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 240)


The purpose of this chapter is to (1) provide an overview of radiocesium dynamics in forests affected by past nuclear accidents; (2) introduce the latest monitoring results of radiocesium cycling during the early phase of the Fukushima accident; and (3) discuss the potential suitability of radiocesium as a tracer of water and element cycling in forest ecosystems. Canopy interception of atmospherically deposited radiocesium varied significantly among different tree species. The evergreen conifers tend to show high canopy interception rate, often exceeding 70% of atmospheric input. The high interception fraction of the deposited radiocesium by coniferous canopies indicated that the canopy will act as a secondary source of radioactive contamination of the forest floor. On the other hand, broadleaved deciduous tree species showed relatively low interception rates of less than 40% of atmospheric input. Recent studies following the Fukushima accident have provided initial insights of the behavior of atmospheric radiocesium in the forest environment and increased our process-based understanding of radiocesium cycling. Building upon the knowledge gleaned from earlier works, there are ample opportunities for new lines of research that further elucidate the role of forest-water interactions on the cycling of radiocesium.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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