Calcium and aluminum cycling in a temperate broadleaved deciduous forest of the eastern USA: relative impacts of tree species, canopy state, and flux type
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Ca/Al molar ratios are commonly used to assess the extent of aluminum stress in forests. This is among the first studies to quantify Ca/Al molar ratios for stemflow. Ca/Al molar ratios in bulk precipitation, throughfall, stemflow, litter leachate, near-trunk soil solution, and soil water were quantified for a deciduous forest in northeastern MD, USA. Data were collected over a 3-year period. The Ca/Al molar ratios in this study were above the threshold for aluminum stress (<1). Fagus grandifolia Ehrh. (American beech) had a median annual stemflow Ca/Al molar ratio of 15.7, with the leafed and leafless values of 12.4 and 19.2, respectively. The corresponding Ca/Al molar ratios for Liriodendron tulipifera L. (yellow poplar) were 11.9 at the annual time scale and 11.9 and 13.6 for leafed and leafless periods, respectively. Bayesian statistical analysis showed no significant effect of canopy state (leafed, leafless) on Ca/Al molar ratios. DOC was consistently an important predictor of calcium, aluminum, and Ca/Al ratios. pH was occasionally an important predictor of calcium and aluminum concentrations, but was not a good predictor of Ca/Al ratio in any of the best-fit models (of >500 examined). This study supplies new data on Ca/Al molar ratios for stemflow from two common deciduous tree species. Future work should examine Ca/Al molar ratios in stemflow of other species and examine both inorganic and organic aluminum species to better gauge the potential for, and understand the dynamics of, aluminum toxicity in the proximal area around tree boles.
KeywordsCalcium Aluminum Atmospheric deposition Acid–base chemistry Stemflow Throughfall
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