Date: 12 May 2011

The Cycling of Pollutants in Nonurban Forested Environments

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Abstract

Forests are complex ecosystems which respond to external inputs of pollutants in a variety of ways. Quantifying changes in the storage of pollutants within ecosystem pools and the biogeochemical fluxes between them provides a means of calculating the overall pollutant balance of a forest ecosystem as an indicator of its sustainability and health. This chapter focuses on pollutant cycling in nonurban forest ecosystems with specific attention on quantification of external inputs, pollutant fluxes and pools within forests and exports to adjacent systems (Fig. 34.1). Selected case studies are used to exemplify the approach and illustrate the importance of location, forest type, management practices such as harvesting and soil conditions. Direct pollutant impacts on forest ecosystem functioning, the effects of intensified biomass utilization, and interactions between climate and pollutant cycling are also discussed.