GB No. 3, winter 1990/91


In the Sudeten Mts. the dominating forest type is spruce forest, which being coniferous forest is especially vulnerable to atmospheric pollutants. The western part of the Sudeten Mts. is one of the most polluted areas in Poland. For about twenty years a fast dieback of forests has been observed. The level degradation of the natural environment is becoming one of the greatest ecological catastrophes in Europe. The situation in the Karkonosze National Park is similar. The high level of air contamination and faults in forest administration are the main reasons of this. Weakened trees become more sensitive to alpine climate factors (such as strong winds, snow and frost) and also diseases. All these factors decrease the ability of reproduction of the trees and consequently the natural renovation of forests. The main sources of contamination are power stations, which use brown coal, more than 40 million tons every year. They are situated in the region called "The Żytawa Sack". These power stations emit to the atmosphere about 400 000 tons of sulphur dioxide and 3 000 000 tons of dusts. The Western Sudeten Mts. are under the influence of emissions from the strongly contaminated region of the vicinity of Jelenia Góra and the Czech Valley.

During the summer of 1985 bioin- dication tests with transplanted lichens (Hypogymnia physodes) and Sphag- num mosses (Sphagnum sp.) in order to establish quantitative and qualitative characteristics of contamination were carried out. Samples of needles of European Spruce (Picea abies) and Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo) were also collected. The sulphur, zinc and copper contents were analyzed in collected materials. Having amounted 1400 ppm in lichens and 1450 ppm in Sphagnum mosses before exposition, after three months of exposition the contents of sulphur increased relatively to 1600 - 2500 and 1600- 2400 ppm. The highest contents occurred in samples deriving from The Izerskie Mts., The Karkonosze Mts. and The Rudawy Janowickie Mts. It seems to be very important to eliminate sources of contamination, to clean industrial emissions more effectively and finally to use less polluting fuels in the heating of houses particularly at health resorts.

Jacek Olek

GB No. 3, winter 1990/91 | Contents