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Environ Monit Assess. 2007 Jun;129(1-3):379-95. Epub 2006 Oct 21.

Recent changes in soil total phosphorus in the Everglades: Water Conservation Area 3.

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Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences, Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.


We assessed recent changes in the distribution of soil total phosphorus (TP) in Water Conservation Area 3 (WCA-3) of the Everglades. Soil cores were collected in 1992 and 2003 at 176 sites. To reflect hydrologic boundaries within the system, WCA-3 was divided into three zones (3AN, 3AS, and 3B). Total P was mapped on both a mass (TPm) and a volumetric basis (TPv) to determine if spatial distributions varied depending on the choice of units. Interpolated maps for both years showed that the highest levels of TPm were located in 3AN and in boundary areas of all zones that received surface water inputs of P from canals. Increases in TPm were greatest in central 3AN in an area adjacent to the Miami Canal that received inputs from a water control structure. Interpolated maps for TPv illustrated that a hotspot present in 1992 had disappeared by 2003. The highest levels of TPv in 2003 were located in northwestern 3AN, a region of WCA-3 that has been chronically overdrained and burned in 1999. From 1992 to 2003, increases in TPm were observed for 53% of the area of WCA-3, while only 16% of WCA-3 exhibited increases in TPv. In 1992, approximately 21% of WCA-3 had TPm concentrations in the 0-10 cm layer >500 mg kg(-1), indicating P enrichment beyond historic levels. Eleven years later, 30% of the area of WCA-3 had TPm >500 mg kg(-1). This indicated that during this period, the area of WCA-3 with enriched TPm concentrations increased about one % year(-1).

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