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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 21 No. 3, p. 345-352
    Received: Oct 10, 1990

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Aluminum in Soil Solutions from a Subalpine Spruce-Fir Forest at Whiteface Mountain, New York

  1. E.K. Miller *,
  2. T.G. Huntington,
  3. A.H. Johnson and
  4. A.J. Friedland
  1. Dep. of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755;
    Water Resources Div., U.S. Geological Survey, Doraville, GA 30360;
    Dep. of Geology, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104;
    Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NJ 03755.



Direct or indirect Al toxicity has been suggested as a principal factor in forest tree declines. We monitored ambient soil solutions in undisturbed and experimentally manipulated soils from a fir [Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.]-spruce forest on Whiteface Mountain, NY, in order to characterize soil solution Al concentrations over a range of acid anion loadings. Under both natural and experimental conditions total Al and labile Al concentrations rarely exceeded values (180–250 µmol L−1) associated with reduced root growth in red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.). Over a 2-yr period ambient soil solutions averaged 76 and 46 µmol L−1 total Al in the organic and mineral horizons, respectively. The highest monthly mean concentrations occurred in winter. Disturbance-induced NO3 accumulation and simulated acid rain applications produced higher peak Al values in experimental plots than were observed in undisturbed and untreated plots. Although soils of the fir-spruce zone exhibited the potential to yield solutions with phytotoxic Al concentrations, it appears that such concentrations are both spatially and temporally limited and infrequently present a direct stress to root growth in red spruce.

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