Long term effects of acid irrigation at the Höglwald on seepage water chemistry and nutrient cycling

Wendelin Weis, Roland Baier, Christian Huber, Axel Göttlein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In order to test the hypothesis of aluminium toxicity induced by acid deposition, an experimental acid irrigation was carried out in a mature Norway spruce stand in Southern Germany (Höglwald). The experiment comprised three plots: no irrigation, irrigation (170 mm a-1), and acid irrigation with diluted sulphuric acid (pH of 2.6-2.8). During the seven years of acid irrigation (1984-1990) water containing 0.43 molc m-2 a-1 of protons and sulphate was added with a mean pH of 3.2 (throughfall+acid irrigation water) compared to 4.9 (throughfall) on both control plots. Most of the additional proton input was consumed in the organic layer and the upper mineral soil. Acid irrigation resulted in a long lasting elevation of sulphate concentrations in the seepage water. Together with sulphate both aluminium and appreciable amounts of base cations were leached from the main rooting zone. The ratio between base cations (Ca+Mg+K) and aluminium was 0.79 during acid irrigation and 0.92 on the control. Neither tree growth and nutrition nor the pool of exchangeable cations were affected significantly. We conclude that at this site protection mechanisms against aluminium toxicity exist and that additional base cation runoff can still be compensated without further reduction of the supply of exchangeable base cations in the upper mineral soil.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcid Rain - Deposition to Recovery
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Pages211-223
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781402058844
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

Keywords

  • Acid deposition
  • Aluminium
  • Base cations
  • Norway spruce
  • Soil acidification
  • Sulphate

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