The Effects of Differences in Vegetation on Calcium Dynamics in Headwater Streams
Although organisms can alter dynamics of elements in ecosystems via physiological results, the effects of tree species on ecosystem nutrient dynamics are highly uncertain. A four-fold variation in the calcium concentrations of streams, soils and leaf litters were caused by the planting of Cryptomeria japonica in south-central Japan. In this study, we examined how the calcium dynamics were affected by the planting of C. japonica through strontium isotope analysis. We predicted the planting of C. japonica would result in the calcium concentration increasing because of the significant dissolution of calcium from bedrock. In a forest ecosystem, calcium is usually derived from precipitation and bedrock weathering, and their relative contributions can be estimated using a strontium isotope mixing model. Therefore, we collected stream water, litter, soil, precipitation and bedrock samples from 17 sites in catchments dominated by C. japonica plantation or evergreen broad-leaved forest; after collection, we analyzed the sample chemical compositions and strontium isotope ratios. The calcium concentrations in the stream water and the water-soluble calcium in the soil were significantly higher at sites dominated by C. japonica than at broad-leaved forest sites. Strontium isotope analysis indicated that there was more calcium from the bedrock present in stream water at sites dominated by C. japonica than in stream water at broad-leaved forest sites. Our results showed that watershed-scale dynamics of calcium and other cations can be altered by the type of vegetation in a catchment due to the effects of vegetation on the supply of calcium from bedrock.
Keywordscalcium dynamics strontium isotope ratio Cryptomeria japonica evergreen broad-leaved forest ecology and geology forest vegetation
We thank J. Kurata, S. Taniguchi, S. Ueda, N. Yuzen and A. Yasuda for their support of chemical analysis, and staffs of Wakayama Exp. Forest for their support of field survey. We are grateful to several referees for helpful comments on the manuscript. The pictures in Figure 5 were drawn by S. Koho. This study was conducted by the support of Joint Research Grant for the Environmental Isotope Study of Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, and of JSPS (Nos. 2566011103, 15K14743 and 17J07854).
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