Plants obtained from permanent study plots as bioindicators for radioactive fallout

Updated 2013-01-26

Vascular plants and mosses are also terrestrial bioindicators for radioactive fallout, The summer fodder of reindeer consist of 200- 300 vascular plants . Therefore vascular plants are an important link in the foodchain plants - reindeer/game - man. STUK has several permanent plant sampling sites, usually in the vicinity of the lichen plots. Only a few of of them are included in Finnish NIP. The results obtained are gammanuclide or occasionally also 90Sr concentrations, Bq/kg.

This is a National Implementation Plan (NIP) project
Comments and additional information:

The sampling sites represent different types of forest, march and lichen field area, typical for Northern Finland. Soil samples have been collected only sporadically. Data are collected from years 1980, 1982, 1986 or 1988 continuously every 3-5 years. Data processing is conducted from 1980 to 1989 or 1999. Data reporting is conducted from 1980, 1982, 1986 or 1988 to 1989 or 1996.

Time frame

Terminated before completion
Project time span
1980 - 2011
Data collection
1980 - 2003
Data processing
1980 - 2003
Data reporting
1980 - 2011

Contact information

Contact person
Ari-Pekka Leppänen
STUK - Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority Regional laboratory in Northern Finland Lähteentie 2 FIN-96400 Rovaniemi Finland
+358 (0)9 75988371

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Media sampled/studied/modelled
Higher plants
Additional information or further specification of types of data / information collected, species / tissues / organs sampled, etc.

Usually STUK is sampling only those parts of the plant consumed by reindeer or elk. Humus and mineral soil layers are also sampled sporadically. The samples are dried at 105oC, soil layers at room tempetature and homogenized before gammaspectrometric measurement and radiochemical analyses.


Regions studied
Terrestrial TDC
Terrestrial TDC
Terrestrial TDC
Terrestrial TDC
Stations or areas where observations are made

Utsjoki, Koihkenjavepakti (1986-1999) Rovaniemi rural commune, Apukka (1982-1995) Kittilä, Pahtavuoma area (1980-1989) Salla, (Oulanka) Pesosjärvi (1988-1998) (coordinates will be added later)

Data availability

Are data archived or planned to be archived at an AMAP Thematic Data Centre?
Data centres
Radioactivity TDC
Terrestrial TDC
If no (or only part of data are reported to a TDC), where and how are (other) data stored?
The data is stored in STUK/Rovaniemi database. The data will be available for the AMAP Phase II report if needed.
References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
Anttila, A. et al. 2011. Concentrations of 137Cs in summer pasture plants that reindeer feed on in the reindeer management area of Finland. J. Env.Rad. , 102, Issue 7, 659-666
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?
Specimen banking information

Samples collected by STUK since 1975. All of them as dried, homogenized samples in plastic bags and jars stored in metal containers at room temperature in STUKs Regional Laboratory in Northern Finland. Only the few samples analysed radiochemically for 90Sr may be destroyed completely.

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

Sampling and pretreatment described under other data (above)

QA/QC Information (what QA/QC procedures are implemented, laboratories involvment in QA/QC activities, model verification/validation routines, etc.)

Intercomparison IAEA, NKS, EU. STUK is accreditated for gammaspectrometric measurements, 90Sr and Pu-isotope analyses (FINAS).

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

University of Oulu, Oulanka biological station Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Reindeer Research Station/ Kaamanen

Indigenous AND traditional knowledge used in this project

Utsjoki sampling location is owned by a sami reindeer herder family. Discussions on summer diet of reindeer.

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