Using moss and lichens in biomonitoring of heavy-metal contamination of forest areas in southern and north-eastern Poland

Sci Total Environ. 2018 Jun 15:627:438-449. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.211. Epub 2018 Feb 3.


In the years 2014-2016 biomonitoring studies were conducted in the forest areas of south and north-eastern Poland: the Karkonosze Mountains, the Beskidy Mountains, the Borecka Forest, the Knyszyńska Forest and the Białowieska Forest. This study used epigeic moss Pleurozium schreberi and epiphytic lichens Hypogymnia physodes. Samples were collected in spring, summer and autumn. Approximately 500 samples of moss and lichens were collected for the study. In the samples, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Hg and Pb concentrations were determined. Based on the obtained results, the studied areas were ranked by extent of heavy-metal deposition: Beskidy > Karkonosze Mountains > forests of north-eastern Poland. Some seasonal changes in concentrations of metals accumulated in moss and lichens were also indicated. There was observed, i.a., an increase in Cd concentration at the beginning of the growing season, which may be related to low emissions during the heating season. Analysis of the surface distribution of deposition of metals in the studied areas showed a significant contribution of nearby territorial emissions and unidentified local emission sources. The contribution of distant emission to Zn, Hg and Pb deposition levels in the Karkonosze and Beskidy region was also indicated.

Keywords: Biomonitoring; Forests; Heavy metals; Lichens; Moss.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Bryophyta / chemistry*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Forests
  • Lichens / chemistry*
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Poland


  • Air Pollutants
  • Metals, Heavy