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Reconstructing Soil Recovery from Acid Rain in Beech (Fagus sylvatica) Stands of the Vienna Woods as Indicated by Removal of Stemflow and Dendrochemistry
- Türtscher, Selina, Grabner, Michael, Berger, Torsten W.
- Water, air, and soil pollution 2019 v.230 no.2 pp. 30
- Fagus sylvatica, acid deposition, acidification, aluminum, calcium, chemical bases, exchangeable cations, felling, iron, magnesium, manganese, pH, potassium, soil acidification, soil analysis, soil horizons, soil nutrients, soil solution, stemflow, stemwood, stumps, topsoil, trees, Austria
- Our goal was to reconstruct soil recovery from Acid Rain based upon removal of stemflow at beech (Fagus sylvatica) stands of known historic and recent soil status. Fourteen beech stands in the Vienna Woods were selected in 1984 and again in 2012 to study changes in soil and foliar chemistry over time. A part of those stands had been strip cut, and to assess reversibility of soil acidification, we analyzed soils around beech stumps from different years of felling, representing the years when acidic stemflow ceased to affect the soil. Furthermore, it was hypothesized that changes of soil chemistry are reflected in the stemwood of beech. Half-decadal samples of tree cores were analyzed for Ca, Mg, K, Mn, Fe, and Al. Soil analyses indicated recovery in the top soil of the stemflow area but recovery was delayed in the between trees areas and deeper soil horizons. Differences in soil pH between proximal and distal area from beech stumps were still detectable after 30 years indicating that soils may not recover fully from acidification or do so at a rather slow rate. Stemwood contents indicated mobilization of base cations during the early 80s followed by a steady decrease thereafter. Backward reconstructions of soil pH and soil nutrients, building on regressions between recent stemwood and soil chemistry, could not be verified by measured soil data in 1984, but matched with declining cation foliar contents from 1984 to 2012. Dendrochemical reconstructions showed highest values in the 1980s, but measured soil exchangeable cation contents were clearly lower in 1984. Hence, we conclude that our reconstructions mimicked soil solution rather than soil exchanger chemistry.