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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 8, issue 3 | Copyright

Special issue: Sustainability of UK upland forestry: contemporary issues...

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 8, 392-408, 2004
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-8-392-2004
© Author(s) 2004. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  30 Jun 2004

30 Jun 2004

The effects of H2SO4 and (NH4)2SO4 treatments on the chemistry of soil drainage water and pine seedlings in forest soil microcosms

M. I. Stutter1,3, M. S. Alam2,3, S. J. Langan1, S. J. Woodin3, R. P Smart4, and M. S. Cresser4 M. I. Stutter et al.
  • 1Macaulay Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen. AB15 8QH, UK
  • 2Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittagong-4331, Bangladesh
  • 3School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen. AB24 3UU, UK
  • 4Environment Dept., University of York, Heslington. YO10 5DD, UK
  • Email for corresponding author: m.stutter@macaulay.ac.uk

Abstract. An experiment comparing effects of sulphuric acid and reduced N deposition on soil water quality and on chemical and physical growth indicators for forest ecosystems is described. Six H2SO4 and (NH4)2SO4 treatment loads, from 0 – 44 and 0 – 25 kmolc ha-1 yr-1, respectively, were applied to outdoor microcosms of Pinus sylvestris seedlings in 3 acid to intermediate upland soils (calc-silicate, quartzite and granite) for 2 years. Different soil types responded similarly to H2SO4 loads, resulting in decreased leachate pH, but differently to reduced N inputs. In microcosms of calc-silicate soil, nitrification of NH4 resulted in lower pH and higher cation leaching than in acid treatments. By contrast, in quartzite and granite soils, (NH4)2SO4 promoted direct cation leaching, although leachate pH increased. The results highlighted the importance of soil composition on the nature of the cations leached, the SO4 adsorption capacities and microbial N transformations. Greater seedling growth on calc-silicate soils under both treatment types was related to sustained nutrient availability. Reductions in foliar P and Mg with higher N treatments were observed for seedlings in the calc-silicate soil. There were few treatment effects on quartzite and granite microcosm tree seedlings since P limitation precluded seedling growth responses to treatments. Hence, any benefits of N deposition to seedlings on quartzite and granite soils appeared limited by availability of co-nutrients, exacerbated by rapid depletion of soil exchangeable base cations.

Keywords: acidification, manipulation, nitrogen, ammonium, deposition, soil, drainage, pine, microcosms, forest

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