Aluminium toxicity and tolerance in three heathland species
- Cite this article as:
- De Graaf, M.C.C., Bobbink, R., Verbeek, P.J.M. et al. Water Air Soil Pollut (1997) 98: 229. doi:10.1007/BF02047036
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Arnica montana andCirsium dissectum are characteristics species of species-rich heathlands and adjacent grasslands, which declined during the last decases in the Netherlands. It has been shown in a recent field survey that the decline ofA. montana andC. dissectum might be caused by soil acidification.Calluna vulgaris is not susceptible to soil acieification. It was hypothesized that increased aluminium concentrations in the soil as a result of acidifying atmospheric inputs caused the decline ofA. montana andC. dissectum whereasC. vulgaris would not be sensitive to enhanced aluminium concentrations. We studied the effects of different A1:Ca-ratios and of A1 concentrations on the development ofA. montana, C. dissectum andC. vulgaris in nutrient solution experiments. All three species showed aluminium accumulation in the shoots related with increased aluminium concentrations in the nutrient solutions. This accumulation was correlated with a reduction in growth when plants were cultured at high A1 concentrations (200–500 µmol l−1), in bothA. montana andC. dissectum. In addition, indications of A1 toxicity were observed in these plant species, e.g. poor root development, yellowish leaves and reduced contents of Mg and P in the plants.C. vulgaris did not show reduced growth or poor plant development due to high A1 concentrations. The negative effects of aluminium inA. montana andC. dissectum were partly counterbalanced when plants were grown on the same A1 concentrations but with increased Ca concentrations, resulting in lower A1:Ca-ratios. No effects of enhanced calcium concentrations onC. vulgaris have been observed.