Chernobyl forests are decaying very slowly

Smithsonian reports on a fascinating and troublesome phenomenon happening in the forests near Chernobyl.

“The gist of our results was that the radiation inhibited microbial decomposition of the leaf litter on the top layer of the soil,” Mousseau says. This means that nutrients aren’t being efficiently returned to the soil, he adds, which could be one of the causes behind the slower rates of tree growth surrounding Chernobyl.

While the disaster at Chernobyl was horrifying, the scientifical ramifications of the radiation in the area is very fascinating. The article mentions that the scientists studying Chernobyl are working with scientists in Japan to better deal with the Fukushima disaster. That is why science makes the world a better place.

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