Temporal distribution of Fukushima-derived 137Cs in coniferous forest soil evaluated based on compartment-exponential model

  • Mengistu T. TeramageEmail author
Research Article


Based on the compartment and exponential models, the distribution of Fukushima-derived 137Cs was evaluated at four sampling dates in undisturbed coniferous forest soil. The compartment model was employed to evaluate the dynamic of 137Cs in the three sub-sections of the forest floor (FF), namely undergrowth (UG), litter layer (OL), and fragmented litter layer (OF), while the exponential model was administrated to describe its distribution below the FF. According to the compartment model, the derived ecological half-life of 137Cs in the UG, OL, and OF layers was 0.97, 1.1, and 4.9 years, respectively, indicating 137Cs resides much longer in the OF layer. Hence, this soil section remains a potential source of radiation dose mainly due to its high 137Cs content associated with low attenuation effect. Below the OF layer, the 137Cs distribution was well described by exponential model and its derived relaxation lengths were in the range of 0.8–1.4 cm, implying the migration of 137Cs in mineral soil is very slow and almost intact during the observation time. Collectively, our results highlighted that the compartment model for the FF and the exponential model for the soil below the FF are adequate enough to generate essential information. Thus, the potential decontamination measures should have to be chosen on their effect on the FF’s 137Cs.

Graphical abstract


137Cs Compartment model Exponential model Forest floor Relaxation length 



The authors are very grateful for valuable discussion held with Dr. Coppin Frederic and Dr. Garcia-Sanchez Laurent. The study is supported by the Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST) research project “Development of Innovative Technologies for Increasing in Watershed Runoff and Improving River Environment by the Management Practice of Devastated Forest Plantation” during the field data collection.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6803_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (26 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hawassa University, College of AgricultureHawassaEthiopia

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