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Title: Intake of Radionuclides in the Trees of Fukushima Forests 1. Field Study
Authors: Yasukawa, Chisato
Aoki, Shoko
Nonaka, Miki
Itakura, Masateru
Tsubokura, Masaharu
Baba, Kei’ichi
Ohbayashi, Hiroya
Sugawara, Izumi
Seyama, Tomoko
Uehara, Iwao
Kaida, Rumi
Taji, Teruaki
Sakata, Yoichi
Hayashi, Takahisa
Author's alias: 馬場, 啓一
Keywords: Fukushima
radiocesium dispersal
radiocesium infiltration
afforested trees
private forests
farmers’ relatedness
Issue Date: Aug-2019
Publisher: MDPI AG
Journal title: Forests
Volume: 10
Issue: 8
Thesis number: 652
Abstract: The earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 led to a meltdown followed by a hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima–Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, causing the dispersal of abundant radionuclides into the atmosphere and ocean. The radionuclides were deposited onto trees and local residences in aerosol or gaseous forms that were partly absorbed by rain or melting snow. Here, we show that the radionuclides attached to the surfaces of trees, in which some radiocesium was incorporated into the xylem through ray cells and through symplastic pathways. The level of incorporated radiocesium varied based on tree species and age because of the ability of radiocesium to attach to the surface of the outer bark. After four years, the radiocesium level in the forest has been decreasing as it is washed out with rainwater into the sea and as it decays over time due to its half-life, but it can also be continuously recycled through leaf tissue, litter, mulch, and soil. As a result, the level of radiocesium was relatively increased in the heartwood and roots of trees at four years after the event. In private forest fields, most trees were left as afforested trees without being used for timber, although some trees were cut down. We discuss an interdisciplinary field study on the immediate effects of high radiation levels upon afforested trees in private forest fields.
Rights: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
DOI(Published Version): 10.3390/f10080652
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