Levels and patterns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils after forest fires in South Korea
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- Levels and patterns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils after forest fires in South Korea
- Kim, Eun Jung; Choi, Sung-Deuk; Chang, Yoon-Seok
- PAHs; Forest fire; Biomass burning; Soil; Korea
- Issue Date
- SPRINGER HEIDELBERG
- ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND POLLUTION RESEARCH, v.18, no.9, pp.1508 - 1517
- Introduction To investigate the influence of biomass burning on the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils, temporal trends and profiles of 16 US Environmental Protection Agency priority PAHs were studied in soil and ash samples collected 1, 5, and 9 months after forest fires in South Korea. Results and discussion The levels of PAHs in the burnt soils 1 month after the forest fires (mean, 1,200 ng/g dry weight) were comparable with those of contaminated urban soils. However, 5 and 9 months after the forest fires, these levels decreased considerably to those of general forest soils (206 and 302 ng/g, respectively). The burnt soils and ash were characterized by higher levels of light PAHs with two to four rings, reflecting direct emissions from biomass burning. Five and 9 months after the forest fires, the presence of naphthalene decreased considerably, which indicates that light PAHs were rapidly volatilized or degraded from the burnt soils. Conclusion The temporal trend and pattern of PAHs clearly suggests that soils in the forest-fire region can be contaminated by PAHs directly emitted from biomass burning. However, the fire-affected soils can return to the pre-fire conditions over time through the washout and wind dissipation of the ash with high content of PAHs as well as vaporization or degradation of light PAHs.
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