Assessment of soil calcium status in red spruce forests in the northeastern United States
- Cite this article as:
- LAWRENCE, G.B., DAVID, M.B., BAILEY, S.W. et al. Biogeochemistry (1997) 38: 19. doi:10.1023/A:1005790130253
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Long-term changes in concentrations of available Ca in soils of redspruce forests have been documented, but remaining questions aboutthe magnitude and regional extent of these changes have precluded anassessment of the current and future status of soil Ca. To addressthis problem, soil samples were collected in 1992—93from 12 sites in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine toprovide additional data necessary to synthesize all availableresearch results on soil Ca in red spruce forests. Sites werechosen to encompass the range of environmental conditionsexperienced by red spruce. Concentrations of exchangeableCa ranged from 2.13 to 21.6 cmolckg−1 in the Oa horizon, and from 0.11 to 0.68cmolc kg−1 in the upper 10 cm of theB horizon. These measurements expanded the range of exchangeable Ca reported in the literature for both horizons in northeastern redspruce forests. Exchangeable Ca was the largest Ca fraction in theforest floor at most sites (92% ofacid-extractableCa), but mineral Ca was the largest fraction at the three sites that also had the highest mineral-matter concentrations. Theprimary factor causing variability in Ca concentrations among siteswas the mineralogy of parent material, but exchangeable concentrationsin the B horizon of all sites were probably reduced by acidicdeposition. Because the majority of Ca in the forest floor isin a readily leachable form, and Ca inputs to the forest floor from the mineral soil and atmospheric deposition have beendecreasing in recent decades, the previously documented decreasesin Ca concentrations in the forest floor over previous decades mayextend into the future.