Pollution stress of Siberian forests

Nilsson S, Blauberg K, Samarskaya EA, & Kharuk VI (1998). Pollution stress of Siberian forests. In: Air Pollution in the Ural Mountains. Eds. Linkov, I. & Wilson, R., NATO ASI Series (40). pp. 31-54 Netherlands: Springer. ISBN 978-94-011-5208-2 DOI:10.1007/978-94-011-5208-2_4.

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Abstract

Many articles in the popular press and western scientific literature stress the severe environmental conditions in Russia and Siberia. The general pollution problem is described in many cases to be close to a disaster. The availability of consistent data for anthropogenic stress factors to the Siberian forests is limited, both from a registration point of view, and from a methodological one. The objective of the overall study has been to attempt to estimate the extent of anthropogenic stress factors to the Siberian forests, based on existing data and studies in Russia. The following activities have been carried out and are summarized in this paper; estimations of emissions and depositions of major pollutants, estimations of the radio nuclide contamination, analyses of the current forest decline in Siberia, and estimates on the areas and growing stock under risk of future forest decline.

From these results the following can be identified.

The highest depositions of heavy metals are in Norilsk,the Irkutsk region, and the southern part of the Far East. Based on Russian estimates of the critical loads for heavy metals and forests, it can be concluded that even the highest depositions of heavy metals (30–41 kg km-2yf-1) are below the critical loads. However, in the vicinity of the emitters, the critical loads are substantially exceeded.

Based on the current critical load calculations for ecosystems, it can be seen that critical loads for sulfur are seriously exceeded in the Urals and Altai Mountains, West Siberia, western East Siberia, in the boundary regions of Kazakhstan, the Norilsk region, southern Far East, Sakhalin, and the southern Kurilean islands.

The exceedance of critical loads for nitrogen are most serious in the Urals, West Siberia, in the boundaries to Kazakhstan, Norilsk, and in the Far East.

Based on the existing data for radioactivity, we can tentatively conclude that soil contamination and contaminated forest ecosystems do not seem to be a dramatic problem from an area point of view. However,there are concerns which must be resolved for the Irkutsk region and the Yenisey river basin.

The storage of nuclear waste is a high potential risk for future large-scale radioactive contamination. This high risk condition requires further investigation.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: Forestry (FOR)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:09
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2016 10:07
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/5425

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