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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Spatial Variations of Sapwood Chemistry with Soil Acidity in Appalachian Forests


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 20 No. 2, p. 486-491
    Received: Sept 23, 1989

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. David R. DeWalle *,
  2. Bryan R. Swistock,
  3. Roger G. Sayre and
  4. William E. Sharpe
  1. School of Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; 16802;
    110 Ridgecrest Rd., Ithaca, NY, 14850.



Studies were conducted at five Appalachian sites to determine if chemical element concentrations in sapwood tree rings from six tree species varied with soil and soil leachate acidity. The most recent 5-yr-growth increment was extracted from 10 tree boles of each species at each site and analyzed for chemical content using plasma emission spectroscopy. Sapwood tree rings generally showed higher concentrations of Mn and lower concentrations of Sr at sites with lower soil pH. Differences in tree-ring concentrations for Ca and Mn among sites were also found in soil water samples at these sites. Significant differences in soil leachate Al between sites were not duplicated in tree rings. Sapwood tree-ring chemistry in red oak (Quercus rubra L.), black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.), eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis [L.] Carr.) was generally responsive to differences in soil chemistry between sites. Chestnut oak (Q. prinus L.) and pignut hickory (Carya glabra [Mill.] Sweet) were the least responsive species tested. Overall, results show that several common tree species and selected elements are potentially useful for studying historic soil acidification trends at these study sites.

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