|Biological Monitoring: Signals from the Environment (GTZ, 1991)|
|Bioindicators for monitoring of atmospheric pollutants in Asian countries|
In view of the growing problems caused by environmental pollution in both the industrialized and the developing countries, there is a justified interest in finding appropriate methods for monitoring the environment and detecting the level of atmospheric contamination.
Because of the inherent limitations imposed on the information yielded by individual measurements of physical and chemical parameters, as well as practical difficulties associated with performing them, it is worthwhile investigating whether- especially in developing countries - biological indicators could be used alternatively or additionally to monitor the environment in tropical and subtropical ecosystems.
The aim of this survey of the literature is to show where in Asia biological monitoring ("biomonitoring") has already been practiced, and which, if any, unique aspects or special problems have arisen or must be taken into account in future.
A survey is provided of the techniques of biological indication which have been applied in India, China and Hong Kong. In addition, work which has been done in South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia is also given consideration. Japanese studies are discussed only by way of illustration.
Considerable difficulties had to be overcome in order to obtain some of the publications surveyed here. We were provided with most of the articles from China and India with the assistance of scientific colleagues in the respective countries. It was possible to obtain part of the literature by way of libraries, especially the library of the University of Hanover.
Almost without exception, the Chinese publications are also written in Chinese. Only a few of the articles begin with a brief English abstract. In order to carry out a detailed study of the literature, however, it was necessary to have certain of the articles translated.
In connection with articles that appeared in the periodicals "Journal of Environmental Science" and "Journal of Ecology", the problem arose that, evidently, in each case two journals exist with the same name, and the Chinese ones were not available in the Federal Republic of Germany.
For the above reasons, the present survey - finished in 1986 - cannot lay claim to being exhaustive.
The basis for decisions on whether or not and in what way a given plant species is suitable for use as a biological indicator is provided by laboratory experiments in which the resistance or sensitivity of crop and meadow plants to selected environmental contaminants are investigated. For this reason, the presentation of practical examples is preceded by a survey of fumigation experiments and their results.
These publications on bioindicators have been organized on the basis of the different monitoring techniques and biological indication types which they deal with. In the case of a few selected examples, the results are presented in graphical and tabular form. Potential sources of error are pointed out.