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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Nov 19;47(22):12687-94. doi: 10.1021/es401864w. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

Effects of acidic deposition and soil acidification on sugar maple trees in the Adirondack Mountains, New York.

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E&S Environmental Chemistry, Inc. , P.O. Box 609, Corvallis, Oregon 97339, United States.


We documented the effects of acidic atmospheric deposition and soil acidification on the canopy health, basal area increment, and regeneration of sugar maple (SM) trees across the Adirondack region of New York State, in the northeastern United States, where SM are plentiful but not well studied and where widespread depletion of soil calcium (Ca) has been documented. Sugar maple is a dominant canopy species in the Adirondack Mountain ecoregion, and it has a high demand for Ca. Trees in this region growing on soils with poor acid-base chemistry (low exchangeable Ca and % base saturation [BS]) that receive relatively high levels of atmospheric sulfur and nitrogen deposition exhibited a near absence of SM seedling regeneration and lower crown vigor compared with study plots with relatively high exchangeable Ca and BS and lower levels of acidic deposition. Basal area increment averaged over the 20th century was correlated (p < 0.1) with acid-base chemistry of the Oa, A, and upper B soil horizons. A lack of Adirondack SM regeneration, reduced canopy condition, and possibly decreased basal area growth over recent decades are associated with low concentrations of nutrient base cations in this region that has undergone soil Ca depletion from acidic deposition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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