Passive Lichenoindication as a Tool for Evaluation of Air Quality in the Environment of Fertilizer Plant
Air pollution remains one of the most important environmental problems not only in urban but also in industrial areas. The aim of the study was to evaluate air quality in the area surrounding of the biggest fertilizers producer in the Baltic states by means of passive lichenoindication method. The abundance of epiphytic lichen species, factor characterizing the condition of lichen community (index of poleotolerance PI) and nitrogen concentration in lichens were investigated at six study sites up to 30 km away from the pollution source. The highest lichen species diversity (n=5.1) was in the study sites at a distance of 11-17 km from the factory, while the lowest diversity was at the control site (n=3.6). The highest projection coverage was in the surroundings of “Achema” JSC (64 %), the lowest coverage was established in the zone of 23-30 km away from the factory (21 %). The highest PI (7.1) was determined in the pollution source zone and the lowest PI was in the control zone (5.8). The highest nitrogen concentration in Xanthoria parietina was in the premises of the factory (29.07 mg/g), whereas the lowest nitrogen concentration was found in the territory furthest from the factory (3.83 mg/g). According to poleotolerance index the cleanest environment was found in the control site and in the territory furthest (23–30 km) from the factory – study site 5 (according to projection coverage and nitrogen concentration in lichens).