Ershov V., Sukhareva T., Isaeva L., Ivanova E. and Urbanavichus G. Pollution-induced changes in the composition of atmospheric deposition and soil waters in coniferous forests at the northern tree line // Sustainability. 2022. Vol. 14. 15580. DOI: 10.3390/su142315580
Abstract: This study examines the dynamics of the composition of atmospheric precipitation and soil water in coniferous forests under the influence of atmospheric emissions from the Severonickel Copper–Nickel Smelter in Russia’s Murmansk region. We studied dwarf shrub-green moss spruce forests and lichen-shrub pine forests, the most common in the boreal zone. Our results showed a significant intra- (below and between the crowns) and inter-biogeocenotic (spruce and pine forests) variation in the composition of atmospheric precipitation and soil water in forests exposed to air pollution. The concentrations of main pollutants in atmospheric fallout and soil water are tens (sulfates) and hundreds (heavy metals) times higher than in the background areas and typically higher below the crowns. The long-term dynamics (between 1999 and 2020) of the composition of atmospheric fallout and soil water in coniferous forests in the background areas and defoliating forests demonstrates a significant increase in nickel concentrations in recent years. This may be due to an increase in nickel concentrations in aerosols propagating over considerable distances. In pollution-induced sparse forests, a trend was found toward a decrease in the concentration of pollutants, which may indicate a decrease in the fallout of pollutants in the composition of larger particles close to the smelter.