Chemical composition of soil solutions extracted from New Zealand beech forests and West German beech and spruce forests
Concentrations of ions were measured in soil solutions from beech (Nothofagus) forests in remote areas of New Zealand and in solutions from beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) forests in North-East Bavaria, West Germany, to compare the chemistry of soil solutions which are unaffected by acid deposition (New Zealand) with those that are affected (West Germany). In New Zealand, soil solution SO42− concentrations ranged between <2 and 58 μmol L−1, and NO3− concentrations ranged between <1 and 3 μmol L−1. In West Germany, SO42− concentrations ranged between 80 and 700 μmol L−1, and NO3− concentrations at three of six sites ranged between 39 and 3750 μmol L−1, but was not detected at the remaining three sites. At all sites in New Zealand, and at sites where the soil base status was moderately high in West Germany, pH levels increased, and total Al (Alt) and inorganic monomeric Al (Ali) levels decreased rapidly with increasing soil depth. In contrast, at sites on soils of low base status in West Germany, pH levels increased only slightly, and Al levels did not decline with increasing soil depth.
Under a high-elevation Norway spruce stand showing severe Mg deficiency and dieback symptoms in West Germany, soil solution Mg2+ levels ranged between 20 and 60 μmol L−, and were only half those under a healthy stand. Alt and Ali levels were substantially higher the healthy stand than under the unhealthy stand, indicating that Al toxicity was not the main cause of spruce decline.
Key wordsAl3+ Ca2+ Mg2+ NH4+ NO3− SO42− Al toxicity forest dieback Fagus sylvatica Nothofagus pH Picea abies soil solution
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