Soil interstitial waters in the Green Lakes Valley, Front Range, Colorado were studied to evaluate the capacity of the soil system to buffer acid deposition. In order to determine the contribution of humic substances to the buffering capacity of a given soil, dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and pH of the soil solutions were measured. The concentration of the organic anion, Ai-, derived from DOC at sample pH and the concentration of organic anion, Ax- at the equivalence point were calculated using carboxyl contents from isolated and purified humic material from soil solutions. Subtracting Ax- from Ai- yields the contribution of humic substances to the buffering capacity (Aequiv.-). Using this method, one can evaluate the relative contribution of inorganic and organic constituents to the acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) of the soil solutions. The relative contribution of organic acids to the overall ANC was found to be extremely important in the alpine wetland (52%) and the forest-tundra ecotone (40%), and somewhat less important in the alpine tundra sites (20%). A failure to recognize the importance of organic acids in soil solutions to the ANC will result in erroneous estimates of the buffering capacity in the alpine environment of the Front Range, Colorado. ?? 1988.
Additional publication details
Acid neutralizing processes in an alpine watershed front range, Colorado, U.S.A.-1: Buffering capacity of dissolved organic carbon in soil solutions