Soils of Russian European North were investigated in terms of stability and quality of organic matter as well as in terms of soils organic matter elemental composi-tion. Therefore, soil humic acids (HAs), extracted from soils of different natural zones of Russian North-East were studied to characterize the degree of soil organic matter stabilization along a zonal gradient. HAs were extracted from soil of different zonal environments of the Komi Republic: south, middle and north taiga as well as south tundra. Data on elemental composition of humic acids and fulvic acids (FAs) extracted from different soil types were obtained to assess humus formation mechanisms in the soils of taiga and tundra of the European North-East of Russia. The specificity of HAs elemental composition are discussed in relation to environmental conditions. The higher moisture degree of taiga soils results in the higher H/C ratio in humic substances. This reflects the reduced microbiologic activity in Albeluvisols sods and subsequent conser-vation of carbohydrate and amino acid fragments in HAs. HAs of tundra soils, shows the H/C values decreasing within the depth of the soils, which reflects increasing of aromatic compounds in HA structure of mineral soil horizons. FAs were more oxidized and contains less carbon while compared with the HAs. Humic acids, extracted from soil of different polar and boreal environments differ in terms of elemental composition winch reflects the climatic and hydrological regimes of humification.
Information on lichens of Franz Josef Land is summarized based on original and literature data. Two hundred twenty nine lichen species are documented, of which 59 species and two varieties are newly reported for this territory. This represents only 13% of the Arctic lichen flora richness. We have found 28 rare lichen species in the archipelago and recommend to include 9 species in the Red Data Book of the Arkhangelsk Region of Russia.
Trace metal composition of snowpack, snow-melt filter residues and top-soils were determined along transects through industrial towns in the Usa River Basin: Inta, Usinsk and Vorkuta. Elevated concentrations of deposition elements and pH in snow and soils associated with alkaline coal ash within 25-40 km of Vorkuta and Inta were found. Atmospheric deposition in the vicinity of Vorkuta and Inta, added significantly to the soil contaminant loading as a result of ash fallout. The element concentrations in soils within 20-30 km of Vorkuta do not reflect current deposition rates, but instead, reflect an historical pollution legacy, when coal mining activity peaked in the 1960s. There is little evidence of anthropogenic metal deposition around the gas and oil town of Usinsk.