Brazil has a mega biodiversity concentrated primarily in forest areas such as the Atlantic Forest, one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. The Serra do Mar State Park (SMSP) in Sao Paulo state is the largest conservation unit of the Atlantic Forest, with both well-preserved and impacted areas such as Picinguaba and Itutinga-Piloes nuclei, respectively. Bioaccumulation patterns of chemical elements are important tools to evaluate the environmental quality of ecosystems. Here, chemical elements were determined in tree leaves and soils by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA). Arsenic and antimony hotspots were found in the soil of Itutinga-Piloes near Anchieta-Imigrantes highway system. Trees from Itutinga-Piloes showed higher uptake of rare earth elements, iron and thorium compared with Picinguaba, with a strong effect of seasonality. This study has demonstrated the potential of using the chemical composition of native trees and soils for the assessment of environmental quality in the Atlantic Forest.
Keywords: biomonitoring, environmental pollution, conservation units, industries, roads, INAA, instrumental neutron activation analysis, Atlantic Forest, tree leaves, chemical elements, bioaccumulation, Brazil ecosystems quality, native trees, soil contamination, arsenic, antimony, iron, thorium