Publication Details

Forest Soil Cation Dynamics and Increases in Carbon on the Allegheny Plateau, PA, USA Following a Period of Strongly Declining Acid Deposition

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Year Published

2021

Publication

Soil Systems

Abstract

Reductions in exchangeable calcium and magnesium and increase in exchangeable aluminum concentrations have been shown in soils impacted by acid deposition, including at four sites on the Allegheny Plateau, PA, USA, sampled in 1967 and 1997 during a period of peak deposition. We repeated sampling at these sites in 2017 to evaluate changes in soils during the more recent period when there has been a strong decline in acid deposition. The uppermost horizons, including the Oa and A horizons where humified organic matter transitions to mineral soil, were thicker, had higher concentrations of organic carbon and exchangeable calcium and magnesium, and lower concentrations of exchangeable aluminum in 2017 compared to 1997, approximating values measured in 1967. Below the Oa/A horizons, 2017 soil chemistry was more similar to the 1997 results, with some reduction of Ca in the recent measurements. These results suggest recovery of base cation– aluminum balance in surface horizons and may indicate a reduction of aluminum mobilization and increased efficiency of vegetation recycling of nutrients with decreased acid anion concentrations. These changes are consistent with a partial recovery from acid deposition. However, the increase in humified soil organic matter may also be affected by coincident increases in temperature and soil moisture.

Keywords

forest soil; soil acidification; acid deposition; climate change; soil monitoring; soil organic matter; soil carbon; calcium; aluminum; magnesium

Citation

Bailey, Scott W.; Long, Robert P.; Horsley, Stephen B. 2021. Forest Soil Cation Dynamics and Increases in Carbon on the Allegheny Plateau, PA, USA Following a Period of Strongly Declining Acid Deposition. Soil Systems. 5(1): 16. 17 p. https://doi.org/10.3390/soilsystems5010016.

Last updated on: October 28, 2021