Acidification and nutrient imbalance in forest soils subjected to nitrogen deposition
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Emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ammonia (NH3) from a fertilizer factory and the resulting input of nitrates (NO3−) and ammonium (NH4+) into the soil were the main reasons of nitrogen (N) cycle disturbance in forest ecosystems near Novgorod, North-Western Russia (50°31′ North, 31°17′ East). Total N atmospheric input was about 100 kg/ha annually. NH3 was a dominant pollutant, causing the increase of atmospheric precipitation pH within the polluted region compared to background territories (6.0–6.5 and 4.5–5.0, respectively). Soil acidification through NH4+ nitrification was observed. N-NO3− concentrations in soil solution reached 20–30 mg/l, and proton (H) production was equal to 4.1 keq/ha per warm season (from April to October). Compared with soil status in 1983, pH decrease by 0.2 pH units was found in A horizon. The content of exchangeable calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) decreased by the factor of 2–3 and 1.5–2 in A and B horizons, respectively. Triple increase of exchangeable aluminium (Al) content was detected in A horizon. Through recent decrease of pollutant emission, the polluted territory is now a suitable subject for recovery studies.
KeywordsNitrogen Oxide Warm Season Pollutant Emission Nitrogen Deposition Atmospheric Precipitation
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