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Distribution and elevated soil pools of mercury in an acidic subtropical forest of southwestern China

Zhou, Jun, Wang, Zhangwei, Zhang, Xiaoshan, Chen, Jian
Environmental pollution 2015 v.202 pp. 187-195
air, altitude, correlation, forests, mercury, organic matter, regression analysis, soil nutrient dynamics, soil pH, streams, volatilization, watersheds, China
Tieshanping catchment in southwest China was supposed to a large pool of atmospheric mercury. This work was aimed to examine THg (total mercury) concentrations, pools and influence factors in the acidic forest. THg concentrations were highly elevated in the study area, which was significantly depended on TOM (total organic matter) concentrations and altitudinal elevation, whereas negatively correlated with soil pH. The pools of mercury accumulated in soils were correlated strongly with the stocks of TOM and altitude, ranged from 5.9 to 32 mg m−2 and averaged 14.5 mg m−2, indicating that the acidic forest was a great sink of atmospheric mercury in southwest China. THg concentrations in stream waters decreased with altitude increasing and regression analyses showed that soil/air exchange flux would be increased with the decrease of altitude. Present results suggest that elevation increasing decreases THg losses as low THg concentrations in runoffs and volatilization from soils.