, Volume 225, Issue 1-2, pp 299-310

A comparison between Ca and Sr cycling in forest ecosystems

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In favourable conditions, the 87Sr/86Sr isotope ratios of the Sr delivered by rain and soil mineral weathering differ. Assuming that Ca and Sr behave similarly in forest ecosystems, several authors have used the 87Sr/86Sr variation in forest compartments to calculate the contribution of rain and mineral weathering to Ca fluxes and pools. However, there are a number of experimental reports showing that Ca and Sr may behave differently in the soil and in the plant. We have tested this Ca–Sr analogy in the field by measuring the variation of Sr and Ca concentrations, fluxes and pools in spruce, beech and maple stands on granite, sandstone and limestone. Results show that (1) variations of Ca and Sr concentrations are generally correlated at each level of the ecosystems. (2) In spruce on acid soils, a preferential uptake of Ca over Sr occurs (Aubure spruce Sr/Ca = 0.8×10−3; soil exchangeable Sr/Ca between 2 and 6×10−3). On calcareous soils, a preferential uptake of Sr over Ca by spruce may occur. (3) In spruce and beech on acid and calcareous soils, a preferential translocation of Ca over Sr from roots to leaves occurs ((Sr/Ca) in leaves was between 10 and 90% of that in roots). (4) The biological cycling of Ca and Sr leads to an enrichment of the upper soil layers in Ca and Sr. Compared to Sr, Ca accumulates in the upper layer of acid soils because Ca cycling through litterfall is favoured over Sr cycling, and possibly because of the selectivity of acid organic exchangers for Ca.

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.