Time trends in the levels and patterns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in pine bark, litter, and soil after a forest fire
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- Time trends in the levels and patterns of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in pine bark, litter, and soil after a forest fire
- Choi, Sung-Deuk
- Forest fire; Korea; Litter; PAHs; Pine bark; Soil
- Issue Date
- ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
- SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, v.470-471, no., pp.1441 - 1449
- Forest fires are known as an important natural source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), but time trends of PAH levels and patterns in various environmental compartments after forest fires have not been thoroughly studied yet. In this study, 16 US-EPA priority PAHs were analyzed for pine bark, litter, and soil samples collected one, three, five, and seven months after a forest fire in Pohang, South Korea. At the first sampling event, the highest levels of ∑16 PAHs were measured for the three types of samples (pine bark: 5920 ng/g, litter: 1540 ng/g, and soil: 133 ng/g). Thereafter, there were apparent decreasing trends in PAH levels; the control samples showed the lowest levels (pine bark: 124 ng/g, litter: 75 ng/g, and soil: 26 ng/g). The levels of PAHs in the litter and soil samples normalized by organic carbon (OC) fractions also showed decreasing trends, indicating a direct influence of the forest fire. Among the 16 target PAHs, naphthalene was a dominant compound for all types of samples. Light PAHs with 2-4 rings significantly contributed to the total concentration, and their contribution decreased in the course of time. Runoff by heavy precipitation, evaporation, and degradation of PAHs in the summer were probably the main reasons for the observed time trends. The results of principal component analysis (PCA) and diagnostic ratio also supported that the forest fire was indeed an important source of PAHs in the study area.
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