1. bookVolume 69 (2021): Issue 2 (June 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
28 Mar 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Hydrobiochemical balance of total mercury in a forest catchment area at former cinnabar mining locality

Published Online: 21 May 2021
Page range: 209 - 219
Received: 15 Dec 2020
Accepted: 27 Jan 2021
Journal Details
First Published
28 Mar 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

We studied the hydrobiochemical balance of total mercury (THg) in a forest ecosystem covering an area affected by mining activity in the past (14th – 18th cent.) in the Kremnické vrchy Mts. (central Slovakia). A reference plot was located in an undisturbed area very close to primeval forest of Badínsky prales natural reserve. We analysed THg in bulk precipitation, throughfall, litterfall, forest floor percolate, forest soil and assimilatory organs of tree species. Results pointed out to high wet mercury deposition at both plots (51 μg·m−2·yr−1 an area near a cinnabar mining (MP1) and 37 μg·m−2·yr−1, in a reference catchment area near the protected primary forest (MP2)) as well as high THg deposition by throughfall (74 μg·m−2·yr−1 and 51 μg·m−2·yr−1, respectively in MP1 and MP2). Litterfall does not represent the main THg flux into forest soil but together with throughfall doubles the THg input compared to open space deposition. Forest ecosystem has ability to capture atmospheric Hg and thus makes new sources of mercury inputs (throughfall and litterfall) into soil.


Alloway, B.J., 1995. Heavy Metals in Soils. 2nd ed. Blackie Academic and Professional, Glasgow, London, 339 p. Search in Google Scholar

Bai, B., Zhai, Z., Rao, D., 2019. The seepage transport of heavy metal Pb2+ through and column in the presence of silicon powders. Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, 67, 4, 349–358. Search in Google Scholar

Barnett, M.O., Harris, L.A., Turner, R.A., Stevenson, R.J., Henson, T.J., Melton, R.C., Hoffnan, D.P., 1997. Formation of mercury sulfide in soil. Environmental Science and Technology, 31, 3037–3043. Search in Google Scholar

Bartík, M., Holko, L., Jančo, M., Škvarenina, J., Danko, M., Kostka, Z., 2019. Influence of mountain spruce forest die-back on snow accumulation and melt. Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, 67, 1, 59–69. Search in Google Scholar

Beneš, S., 1994. Content and balance of elements in environment. Part II. Ministerstvo zemědělství České republiky, Prague, 159 p. (In Czech.) Search in Google Scholar

Berg, B., 2014. Decomposition patterns for foliar litter – A theory for influencing factors. Soil Biol. Biochem., 78, 222–232. Search in Google Scholar

Blackwell, B.D., Driscoll, C.T., 2015a. Deposition of mercury in forests along a montane elevation gradient. Environ. Sci. Technol., 49, 5363–5370. Search in Google Scholar

Blackwell, B.D., Driscoll, C.T., 2015b. Using foliar and forest floor mercury concentrations to assess spatial patterns of mercury deposition. Environmental Pollution, 202, 126–134. Search in Google Scholar

Bublinec, E., Pichler, V., (Eds.), 2001. Slovak primeval forests – diversity and conservation. Institute of Forest Ecology, Zvolen, Slovakia, 196 p. Search in Google Scholar

Cibulka, J. et al., 1991. Lead, Cadmium and Mercury Movement in Biosphere. Academia, Prague, 427 p. (In Czech.) Search in Google Scholar

Cole, A.S., Steffen, A., Eckley, C.S., Narayan, J., Pilote, M., Tordon, R., Graydon, J.A., St. Louis, V.L., Xu, X., Branfireun, B.A., 2014. A survey of mercury in air and precipitation across Canada. Patterns and trends. Atmosphere, 5, 635–668. Search in Google Scholar

De Vries, W., Schütze, G., Lofts, S., Tipping, E., Meili, M., Römkens, P.F.A.M., Groenenberg, J.E., 2005. Calculation of critical loads for cadmium, lead and mercury. Background document to a Mapping manual on critical loads of cadmium, lead and mercury. Alterra – report 1104. Alterra, Wageningen, 143 p. Search in Google Scholar

Demers, J.D., Driscoll, C.T., Fahey, T.J., Yavitt, J.B., 2007. Mercury cycling in litter and soil in different forest types in the Adirondack region, New York, USA. Ecological Applications, 17, 5, 1341–1351. Search in Google Scholar

Dombaiová, R., 2005. Mercury and methylmercury in plants from differently contaminated sites in Slovakia. Plant, Soil, and Environment, 51, 456–463. Search in Google Scholar

Downs, S.G., Macleod, C.L., Lester, J.N., 1998. Mercury in precipitation and its relation to bioaccumulation in fish: A literature review. Water Air and Soil Pollution, 108, 149–187. Search in Google Scholar

Ďurža, O., Khun, M., 2002. Environmental geochemistry of some heavy metals. Univerzita Komenského, Bratislava, Slovakia, pp. 61–70. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Faïn, X., Obrist, D., Pierce, A., Barth, C., Gustin, M.S., Boyle, D.P., 2011. Whole-watershed mercury balance at Sagehen Creek, Sierra Nevada, CA. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 75, 9, 2379–2392. Search in Google Scholar

Ferreira, V., Chauvet, E., 2011. Future increase in temperature more than decrease in litter quality can affect microbial litter decomposition in streams. Oecologia, 167, 1, 279–297. Search in Google Scholar

Fu, X.W., Zhang, H., Yu, B., Wang, X., Lin, C.J., Feng, X.B., 2015. Observation of atmospheric mercury in China. A critical review. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15, 16, 9455–9476. Search in Google Scholar

Gömöryová, E., Střelcová, K., Škvarenina, J., Gömöry, D., 2013. Responses of soil microorganisms and water content in forest floor horizons to environmental factors. European Journal of Soil Biology, 55, 71–76. Search in Google Scholar

Grigal, D.F., 2003. Mercury sequestration in forests and peat-lands. A review. Journal of Environment Quality, 32, 2, 393–405. Search in Google Scholar

Gustin, M.S., Stamenkovic, J., 2005. Effect of watering and soil moisture on mercury emissions from soils. Biogeochemistry, 76, 215–232. Search in Google Scholar

Gustin, M.S., Biester, H., Kim, C.S., 2002. Investigation of the light-enhanced emission of mercury from naturally enriched substrates. Atmospheric Environment, 36, 3241–3254. Search in Google Scholar

Gustin, M.S., Engle, M., Ericksen, J.A., Lyman, S., Stamen-kovic, J., Xin, M., 2006. Mercury exchange between the atmosphere and low mercury containing substrates. Appl. Geochem., 21, 1913–1923. Search in Google Scholar

Hančinský, L., 1972. Forest Types of Slovakia. Príroda, Bratislava, Slovakia, 307 p. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Hlavčová, K., Szolgay, J., Kohnová, S., Horvát, O., 2009. The limitations of assessing impacts of land use changes on runoff with a distributed hydrological model. Case study of the Hron River. Biologia, 64, 3, 589–593. Search in Google Scholar

Jackson, T.A.,1998. Mercury in aquatic ecosystems (Chapter 5). In: Langston, W.J., Bebianno, M.J. (Eds.): Metal Metabolism in Aquatic Environments. Chapman & Hall, London, pp. 77−158. Search in Google Scholar

Jaloviar, P., Saniga, M., Kucbel, S., Pittner, J., Vencurik, J., Dovciak, M., 2017. Seven decades of change in a European old-growth forest following a stand-replacing wind disturbance. A long-term case study. Forest Ecology and Management, 399, 197–205. Search in Google Scholar

Kabata-Pendias, A., Pendias, H., 2001. Trace Elements in Soils and Plants. 3rd ed. CRC Press, Florida, 403 p. Search in Google Scholar

Kolka, R.K., Grigal, D.F., Nater, E.A., Verry, E.S., 2001. Hydrologic cycling of mercury and organic carbon in a forested upland-bog watershed. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 65, 897–905. Search in Google Scholar

Kucbel, S., Jaloviar, P., Saniga, M., Vencurik, J., Klimaš, V., 2010. Canopy gaps in an old-growth fir-beech forest remnant of Western Carpathians. European Journal of Forest Research, 129, 3, 249–259. Search in Google Scholar

Kuklová, M., Kukla, J., Hnilička, F., 2010. The soil-to-herbs transfer of heavy metals in Spruce ecosystems. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 19, 6, 1263–1268. Search in Google Scholar

Kuklová, M., Hniličková, H., Hnilička, F., Pivková, I., Kukla, J., 2017. Toxic elements and energy accumulation in topsoil and plants of spruce ecosystems. Plant, Soil and Environment, 63, 9, 402–408. Search in Google Scholar

Lee, Y.H., Bishop, K.H., Munthe, J., 2000. Do concepts about catchment cycling of methylmercury and mercury in boreal catchments stand the test of time? Six years of atmospheric inputs and runoff export at Svartberget, northern Sweden. Science of Total Environment, 260, 11–22. Search in Google Scholar

Lindberg, S.E., 1996. Forests and the global biogeochemical cycle of mercury: the importance of understanding air vegetation exchange process. In: Baeyens, W., Ebinghaus, R., Vasiliev, O. (Eds.): Global and Regional Mercury Cycles: Sources, Fluxes and Mass Balances. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 359–380. Search in Google Scholar

Lindberg, S.E., Meyers, T., Taylor, G., Turner, R., Schroeder, W., 1992. Atmosphere-surface exchange of mercury in a forest – results of modeling and gradient approaches. Journal of Geophysic Research, 97, 2519–2528. Search in Google Scholar

Malcom, E.G., Keeler, G.J., Lawson, S.T.; Sherbatskoy, T.D., 2003. Mercury and trace elements in cloud water and precipitation collected on Mt. Mansfield, Vermont. J. Environ. Monitoring, 5, 4, 584–590. Search in Google Scholar

Matúš, R., 2005. Migration of trace elements Hg, As and Sb in Malachov ore field. Vodohospodársky spravodajca, 5–6, 12–15. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Merva, M., Zaic, J., 1997. Mercury forms in soil from ecology point of view. Acta Montanistica Slovaca, 2, 113–118. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Minďáš, J., Škvarenina, J., 2001. Climate. In: Bublinec, E., Pichler, V. (Eds.): Slovak primeval forests – diversity and conservation. Institute of Forest Ecology, Zvolen, Slovakia, pp. 99–104. Search in Google Scholar

Munthe, J., Pleijel, K., Iverdfeldt, A., Kruger, O., Petersen, G., 1998. Atmospheric deposition of mercury in the Nordic countries at different scenarios of reduced antropogenic emissions in Europe. Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Stockholm. Search in Google Scholar

Nair, U.S., Wu, Y., Holmes, C.D., Ter Schure, A., Kallos, G., Walters, J.T., 2013. Cloud-resolving simulations of mercury scavenging and deposition in thunderstorms. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 19, 10143–10157. Search in Google Scholar

Navrátil, T., Shanley, J., Rohovec, J., Oulehle, F., Krám, P., Matoušková, Š., Tesař, M., Hojdova, M., 2015. Mercury in stream water at five Czech catchments across a Hg and S deposition gradient. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 158, 201–211. Search in Google Scholar

Ollerová, H., Kontrišová, O., Marušková, A., Kontriš, J., 2004. Mercury content in selected herbs and soil on the transect in the Žiarska kotlina (basin). In: Beseda, I. (Ed.): Current problems of environmental contamination in terms of toxicology and ecotoxicology. Part III. FEE TU vo Zvolene, Zvolen, Slovakia, pp. 78–81. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Petráš, R., Jamnická, G., Mecko, J., Neuschlová, E., 2012. State of mineral nutrition and heavy metals distribution in aboveground biomass of poplar clones. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, 21, 2, 447–453. Search in Google Scholar

Pichler, V., Homolák, M., Skierucha, W., Pichlerová, M., Ramírez, D., Gregor, J., Jaloviar, P., 2012. Variability of moisture in coarse woody debris from several ecologically important tree species of the Temperate Zone of Europe. Ecohydrology, 5, 4, 424–434. Search in Google Scholar

Rea, A., Keeler, G.J., Scherbatskoy, T., 1996. The deposition of mercury in throughfall and litterfall in the Lake Champlain watershed. A short-term study. Atmospheric Environment, 30, 3257–3263. Search in Google Scholar

Rea, A.W., Lindberg, S.E., Keeler, G.J., 2001. Dry deposition and foliar leaching of mercury and selected trace elements in deciduous forest throughfall. Atmos. Environ., 35, 3453–3462. Search in Google Scholar

Rea, A.W., Lindberg, S.E., Scherbatskoy, T., Keeler, G.J., 2002. Mercury accumulation in foliage over time in two northern mixed-hardwood forests. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 133, 49–67. Search in Google Scholar

Samaniego, J., Gibaga, C.R., Tanciongco, A., Rastrullo, R., 2020. Total Mercury in Soils and Sediments in the Vicinity of Abandoned Mercury Mine Area in Puerto Princesa City, Philippines. Appl. Sci., 10, 4599. Search in Google Scholar

Scheer, Ľ., 2007. Biometrics. Technická univerzita vo Zvolene, Zvolen, Slovakia, 334 p. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Schwesig, D., Matzner, E., 2000. Pools and fluxes of mercury and methylmercury in two forested catchments in Germany. Science of Total Environment, 260, 213–223. Search in Google Scholar

Schwesig, D., Matzner, E., 2001. Dynamics of mercury and methylmercury in forest floor and runoff of a forested watershed in Central Europe. Biogeochemistry, 53, 181–200. Search in Google Scholar

Silva-Filho, E.V., Machado, W., Oliveira, R.R., Sella, S.M., Lacerda, L.D., 2006. Mercury deposition through litterfall in an Atlantic Forest at Ilha Grae, Southeast Brazil. Chemosphere, 65, 2477–2484. Search in Google Scholar

Šmelko, Š., Wolf, J., 1977. Statistics Methods in Forestry. Príroda, Bratislava, Slovakia, 275 p. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

St. Louis, V.L., Rudd, J.W.M., Kelly, C.A., Hall, B.D., Rolfhus, K.R., Scott, K.J., Lindberg, S.E., Dong, W., 2001. Importance of the forest canopy to fluxes of methyl mercury and total mercury to boreal ecosystems. Environ. Sci. Technol., 35, 3089–3098. Search in Google Scholar

Stanová, V., Valachovič M. (eds), 2002. Catalog of Slovak biotops. DAPHNE – Institute of Applied Ecology, Bratislava, Slovakia, 225 p. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Štefanidesová, V., Seidlerová, J., Dvorská, P., 2000. Contaminated soils and mercury form stable complexes. Kontaminované půdy a rtuť tvoří stabilní komplexy. Odpady, 11, 23–24. (In Czech.) Search in Google Scholar

STN 48 1000. Sampling and preparation of forest soil samples for determination the forest health. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

STN 48 1001. Sampling of assimilation organs for determination the forest health. (In Slovak.) Search in Google Scholar

Styszko, K., Szramowiat, K., Kistler, M., Kasper-Giebl, A., Samek, L., Furman, L., Pacyna, J., Gołaś, J., 2015. Mercury in atmospheric aerosols: a preliminary case study for the city of Krakow, Poland. Comptes Rendus Chimie, 18, 10, 1183–1191. Search in Google Scholar

Su, L., Xie, Z., Xu, W., Zao, Ch., 2019. Variability of throughfall quantity in a mixed evergreen-deciduous broadleaved forest in central China. J. Hydrol. Hydromech., 67, 3, 225–231. Search in Google Scholar

Suchara, I., Sucharová, J., 2005. Mercury in the environment and bioindicated distribution of its fallout in the Czech Republic and in surrounding of Spolana, Neratovice plant. Ochrana ovzduší, 3, 19–24. (In Czech.) Search in Google Scholar

Vido, J., Střelcová, K., Nalevanková, P., Leštianska, A., Kandrík, R., Pástorová, A., Škvarenina, J., Tadesse, T., 2016. Identifying the relationships of climate and physiological responses of a beech forest using the Standardised Precipitation Index: a case study for Slovakia. Journal of Hydrology and Hydromechanics, 64, 3, 246–251. Search in Google Scholar

Vogel, T., Lichner, L., Dusek, J., Cipakova, A., 2007. Dual-continuum analysis of a cadmium tracer field experiment. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 92, 1–2, 50–65. Search in Google Scholar

Wang, X., Lin, C.-J., Lu, Z., Zhang, H., Zhang, Y., Feng, X., 2016. Enhanced accumulation and storage of mercury on subtropical evergreen forest floor: Implications on mercury budget in global forest ecosystems. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeoscience, 121, 2096–2109. Search in Google Scholar

Wright, L.P., Zhang, L., Marsik, F.J., 2016. Overview of mercury dry deposition, litterfall, and throughfall studies. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 13399–13416. Search in Google Scholar

Zhang, H., Lindberg, S.E., Marsik, F.J., Keeler, G.J., 2001. Mercury air/surface exchange kinetics of background soils of the Tahquamenon River watershed in the Michigan upper peninsula. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 126, 151–169. Search in Google Scholar

Zhou, J., Feng, X., Liu, H., Zhang, H., Fu, X., Zhang, Y., 2013. Examination of total mercury inputs by precipitation and litterfall in a remote upland forest of Southwestern China. Atmospheric Environment, 81, 364–372. Search in Google Scholar

Zhou, J., Wang, Z., Zhang, X., Gao, Y., 2017. Mercury concentrations and pools in four adjecent coniferous and deciduous upland forests in Beijing, China. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 122, 5, 1260–1274. Search in Google Scholar

Zhou, J., Wang, Z., Zhang, X., 2018. Deposition and fate of mercury in litterfall, litter, and soil in coniferous and brad-leaved forests. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 123, 8, 2590–2603. Search in Google Scholar

Zhou, J., Du, B., Shang, L., Wang, Z., Cui, H., Fan, X, Zhou, J., 2020. Mercury fluxes, budgets, and pools in forest ecosystems of China. A review. Environmental Science and Technology, 50, 14, 1411–1450. Search in Google Scholar

Zuśka, Z., Kopcińska, J., Dacewicz, E., Skowera, B., Wojkowski, J., Ziernicka–Wojtaszek, A., 2019. Application of the principal component analysis (PCA) method to assess the impact of meteorological elements on concentrations of particulate matter (PM10): A case study of the mountain valley (the Sącz Basin, Poland). Sustainability, 11, 23, 6740. Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo