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This paper presents the results of an assessment of macro- and microelements in the sediments of lakes laying within protected areas in Poland – the Drawa National Park, the Wel Landscape Park and the Górzno-Lidzbark Landscape Park. In each lake two grab sediment sample were collected: one in the littoral zone and the other in the deepest part of the lake basin. Sediment samples analysed for their content of inorganic carbon (IC) and the loss on ignition (LOI at 550°C) and, according to these parameters classified into three sediment types. Micro elements were detected with SEM-EDX system and the bioavailability of Zn, Cu, and Fe was evaluated after an extraction with DTPA (diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid) solution. The most diverse chemical composition of the sediments was observed in the lakes of the Wel Landscape Park Lacustrine sediments were characterized by the heterogeneous content of organic matter (from 11.70 to 52.89%), calcium carbonate (from 0.0 to 42.73%) and mineral fractions (from 38.24 to 79.46%). They consisted of three different types of gyttja (fine grain-size, clayey-calcareous, clayey). The highest content of trace elements was determined in fine grain-size gyttja, which results from their current sorption properties, as well as alimentation by river waters flowing into the lakes.
The sediments contained relatively low concentrations of the analysed elements, which was reflected in the low values of the contamination factor (CF), the contamination degree (Cdeg), the geo-accumulation index (Igeo) and the enrichment factor (EF). Values of the Igeo point out also that these lake sediments were not contaminated by heavy metals. The total content of zinc and copper in some analyzed sediments was higher than the content assumed as acceptable for protected areas. The contribution of bioavailable forms of Zn and Cu ranges from 2.3 to 29.1% for Zn, and from 4.6 to 18.4% for Cu. The type of sediment, and the surface area largely determined the lake sediment chemical composition, while land-use in the catchments had a minor effect. This applies to both lakes of different parks and lakes within each of the parks.