Advertisement

Environmental Geology

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 17–28 | Cite as

Major and trace elements in plants and soils in Horton Plains National Park, Sri Lanka: an approach to explain forest die back

  • Rohana Chandrajith
  • Nadeesha Koralegedara
  • K. B. Ranawana
  • H. J. Tobschall
  • C. B. Dissanayake
Original Article

Abstract

Forest die back has been observed from 1980s in the montane moist forest of Horton Plains in the Central Sri Lanka for which the aetiology appears to be uncertain. The concentration levels of Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Ni, Zn and Pb in canopy leaves, bark and roots, which were collected from dying and healthy plants of three different endemic species, Calophyllum walkeri, Syzygium rotundifolium and Cinnamomum ovalifolium, from three different die back sites were studied. Soils underlying the plants were also analyzed for their extractable trace metals and total contents of major oxides. Analysis of dead and healthy plants does not show any remarkable differences in the concentrations of studied trace elements. The results show that there is a low status of pollution based on the concentrations of chemical elements of environmental concern. Extractable and total trace element analysis indicates a low content of Ca in soils due to high soil acidity that probably leads to Mg and Al toxicity to certain plants. Relatively high Al levels in the soil would affect the root system and hamper the uptake and transport of essential cations to the plant. It therefore seems that the forest declining appears to be a natural phenomenon, which occurs due to the imbalance of macro and micronutrients in the natural forest due to excessive weathering and the continuous leaching of essential elements.

Keywords

Al-toxicity Forest die back Forest soils Montane forest Major and trace elements 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by a research grant from the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka. Rohana Chandrajith acknowledges the fellowship received from Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.

References

  1. Adikaram NKB, Mahaliyanage TD (1999) Study of phytosociology and forest health. Final report-Horton Plains forest die back research project, University of Peradeniya, pp 22–122Google Scholar
  2. Adikaram NKB, Ranawana KB, Weerasooriya A (2006) Forest die back in the Horton Plains National Park. Department of Wildlife Conservation, Colombo, Sri Lanka, p 54Google Scholar
  3. Allen SE (1974) Chemical analysis of ecological materials. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Balasubramaniam S, Rathnayake SA, White R (1993) The montane forests of the Horton Plains nature reserve. In: Erdelen W, Preu C, Ishwaran N, Madduma Bandara CM (eds) Proceedings of the international and interdisciplinary symposium, Ecology and landscape management in Sri Lanka. Margraf scientific books, Weikersheim, pp 95–108Google Scholar
  5. Berg T, Steinnes E (1995) Use of mosses (Hylocomium splendens and Pleurozium schreberi) as monitors of heavy metals deposition: Form relative to absolute deposition values. Environ Pollut 98(1):61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cassens-Sasse E (1987) Witterungsbedingte saisonale Versauerungsschübe im Boden zweier Waldökosysteme. Ber.Waldökosysteme/Waldsterben Bd 30. Göttingen, 287 ppGoogle Scholar
  7. De Coninck JGC (1987) Soil and plant analysis: a laboratory guide. Internal report of Institute of Fundamental Studies and Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven, 76 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. França EJD, Elisabete A, Fernades ND, Bacchi MA, Saiki M (2004) Native trees as biomonitors of chemical elements in the biodiversity conservation of the Atlantic forest. J Atmos Chem 49(1–3):579–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Sri Lanka (1995) 1:100000 Geology Map, Sheet 17. Nuwara Eliya, HaputaleGoogle Scholar
  10. Gorsuch TT (1970) The destruction of organic matter. J Atmos Chem 49:579–592Google Scholar
  11. Gunatilleke CVS, Gunatilleke IAUN (1986) Horton Plains: some aspects of its vegetation and ecology. Sri Lanka Wildl 3, 4:9–11Google Scholar
  12. Gunawardana ERN, Rajapaksha U, Nandasena KA, Rosier PTW, Chandrasiri N (1998) Water Quality issues in the uplands of Sri Lanka. In: Gunasena HDM (ed) Proceedings of the final workshop. University of Peradeniya and Oxford Forestry Institute Link Project, Peradeniya, pp 37–41Google Scholar
  13. Hoffmann TW (1988) The Horton Plains, good and bad news. Loris 18(1):4–5Google Scholar
  14. IUCN (1990) Horton Plains National Park-Directory of South Asian protected areasGoogle Scholar
  15. Jane GT, Green TGA (1986) Etiology of forest die back areas within the Kaimai Range, North Island, New Zealand. N Z J Bot 24:513–527Google Scholar
  16. Jayasekera R (1992) Elemental concentrations in a tropical montane rain forest in Sri Lanka. Vegetatio 98:73–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jayasekera R (1993) Interelemental relationship in leaves of tropical montane trees. Vegetatio 109:145–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jayasekera R, Rossbach M (1996) Use of seaweeds for monitoring trace elements in coastal waters. Environ Geochem Health 18:63–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kazda M, Zvacek L (1989) Aluminium and manganese and their relation to calcium in soil solution and needles in three Norway spruce (Picea abies, L. Karst.) stands of Upper Austria. Plant Soil 114:257–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Koh S, Aoki T, Katayama Y, Takada J (1999) Losses of elements in plant samples under the dry ashing process. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 239(3):591–594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kronberg BI, Fyfe WS, Leonardos OH Jr, Santos AM (1979) The chemistry of some Brazilian soils: element mobility during intense weathering. Chem Geol 24:211–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kurczyńska EU, Bastrup-Birk A, Mortensen L (1998) Influence of ozone and soil nitrogen content on the stem anatomy of Norway spruce samplings grown in open-top chambers. Environ Exp Bot 40:113–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mitchell RL, Burridge JC (1979) Trace elements in soils and crops. Philos Trans R Soc B 288:15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Perera WRH (1978) Totupolakanda: an environmental disaster? Sri Lanka For 3:53–55Google Scholar
  25. Raben GH (1988) Untersuchungen zur raumzeitlichen Entwicklung boden-und wurzelchemischer Stressparameter und deren Einfluss auf die Feinwurzelentwicklung in bodensauren Waldgesellschaften des Hills, vol 38. Berichte des Forschungszentrums Waldökosysteme/Waldsterben, Göttingen, 235 ppGoogle Scholar
  26. Ranasinghe PN, Dissanayake CB (1999) Soil nutrients and micro elements. Final report, Horton Plains forest die back research project, University of Peradeniya, pp 146–208Google Scholar
  27. Ranasinghe PN, Dissanayake CB, Samarasinghe DVN, Galappatti R (2007) The relationship between soil geochemistry and die back of montane forests in Sri Lanka: a case study. Environ Geol 51:1077–1088CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ranawana KB (1999) Damage by herbivores, seedling regeneration and extent of die back. Final report-Horton Plains forest die back research project, University of Peradeniya, pp 123–145Google Scholar
  29. Sahrawat KL, Ravi Kumar G, Rao JK (2002) Evaluation of triacid and dry ashing procedures for determining potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, and copper in plant materials. Commu Soil Sci Plant Anal 33:95–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Shirokova Y, Forkutsa I, Sharafutdinova N (2000) Use of electrical conductivity instead of soluble salts for soil salinity monitoring in Central Asia. Irrig Drain Syst 14:199–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Underwood EJ (1977) Trace elements in human and animal nutrition. Academic Press, New York, 533 ppGoogle Scholar
  32. Walker DW, Hubbell TJ, Sedberry JE (1989) Agriculture ecosystem and environment. J Exp Agric 27(3):456–457Google Scholar
  33. Waring RH, Schlesinger WH (1985) Forest ecosystems: concepts and management. Academic Press, Orlando, 340 ppGoogle Scholar
  34. Watmough SA (1997) An evaluation of the use of dendrochemical analyses in environmental monitoring. Environ Rev 5:181–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Weiss D, Cheburkin AK, Shotyk W, Gloorc M (1998) Determination of Pb in the ash fraction of plants and peats using the Energy-dispersive miniprobe multielement analyser (EMMA). Analyst 123:2097–2102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Werner WL (1982) The upper montane forest of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka For 15:11–135Google Scholar
  37. Werner WL (1988) Canopy die back in the upper montane rain forests of Sri Lanka. Geojournal 17(2):245–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wijesundara DSA (1991) Phytosociology of a montane forest in Sri Lanka. M.Phil thesis, University of Peradeniya (unpublished)Google Scholar
  39. Wittig R (1993) General aspects of biomonitoring heavy metals by plants. In: Markert B (ed) Plants as biomonitors. VCH Publishers, New York, pp 3–27Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rohana Chandrajith
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nadeesha Koralegedara
    • 1
  • K. B. Ranawana
    • 3
  • H. J. Tobschall
    • 2
  • C. B. Dissanayake
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka
  2. 2.Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, Chair of Applied GeologyUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangenGermany
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of PeradeniyaPeradeniyaSri Lanka

Personalised recommendations