Die Bäume von Tschernobyl

Ein paar Wissenschaftler haben die Auswirkungen der Nuklearkatastrophe von Tschernobyl auf die dortigen Bäume untersucht („Tree rings reveal extent of exposure to ionizing radiationin Scots pine Pinus sylvestris„). Wer den Zeitpunkt des Super-Gau auf dem Foto entdeckt bekommt ’nen Keks. Das Abstract:

Tree growth has been hypothesized to provide areliable indicator of the state of the external environment.Elevated levels of background ionizing radiation mayimpair growth trajectories of trees by reducing the annualgrowth. Such effects of radiation may depend on theindividual phenotype and interact with other environmentalfactors such as temperature and drought. We used standardized growth rates of 105 Scots pine Pinus sylvestris located near Chernobyl, Ukraine, varying in the level of background radiation by almost a factor 700. Mean growthrate was severely depressed and more variable in1987–1989 and several other subsequent years, followingthe nuclear accident in April 1986 compared to the situa-tion before 1986. The higher frequency of years with poorgrowth after 1986 was not caused by elevated temperature,drought or their interactions with background radiation.Elevated temperatures suppressed individual growth ratesin particular years. Finally, the negative effects of radio-active contaminants were particularly pronounced insmaller trees. These findings suggest that radiation hassuppressed growth rates of pines in Chernobyl, and thatradiation interacts with other environmental factors andphenotypic traits of plants to influence their growth tra- jectories in complex ways.

(via kottke & BBC)

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