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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Pollutant Distribution and Effects in Forests Adjacent to Smelters1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 13 No. 3, p. 377-382
    Received: Oct 12, 1983

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  1. G. D. Hogan and
  2. D. L. Wotton2



Pollutant levels were examined in a boreal forest system that had been exposed to smelter effluents for 50 yr. High levels of Zn, Cu, and Pb were found in the surface soils close to the source (< 10 km) and declined rapidly in a south-southeast direction. Significant deposition of metals may be occurring at sites up to 35 km from the source. Positive correlations between metals found in the soil and distance from the source implicated the smelter as the source of the metal particulates. The most heavily impacted sites (> 4000 and 1000 mg/kg of Zn and Cu, respectively) showed significant accumulations of metal at lower soil depths. Extraction of soils with diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA) indicated that 50 to 60% and 18 to 36% of the and Cu, respectively, could be in a plant-available form. Soil pH was not related to distance from the source, indicating that acidification had not taken place; this was confirmed by snow analysis. Data did not indicate that metal levels in the soil have affected the foliar nutrient levels of major tree species. Elevated S levels were found in the foliage of black spruce (Picea mariana Mill.) close to the source but were not apparent for jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.).

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