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Effect of old mining activities on nutrient and toxic elements concentration in the biomass of Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) and European Birch (Betula pendula L.)

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Metal mining activities often lead to plant and soil contamination in the surrounding environment. This article characterises the contaminated site and the effects of acidification and heavy metal pollution on two plant species: European birch and Norway spruce. The research was conducted in the surroundings of a former polymetalic mine near the town of Zlate Hory, Czech Republic. A by-product of the ore flotation technique was 6.8 million tonnes of metalliferous tailings. The adjacent forest area is contaminated by wind blown pyritic dust particles. The experimental transect was located in a spruce monoculture down wind of the tailings. Samples of soils, Norway spruce branches and European birch seedlings were taken at 50 m intervals. Spruce shoot axes and needles, and birch roots, stems and leaves were analysed separately. Samples were analysed using AAS to obtain Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Al and Fe concentrations.

Keywords: acidification, heavy metals, soil contamination, tailings, old mines, mining activities, biomass, Norway spruce, European Birch, environmental pollution, Czech Republic, pyritic dust, air pollution

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