Elevated concentrations of soluble Al can impair tree growth and be toxic to aquatic biota, but effects of acidic deposition on Al solubility in forest soils are only partially understood because of complex interactions with H+ and organic matter. We therefore evaluated Al solubility in two red spruce stands in eastern Maine, one of which received dry (NH4)2SO4 at a rate of 1800 equiv ha-1 yr-1 during 19891995. Samples of soil (Spodosol Oa and Bh horizons) and soil solution were collected on five dates from 1992 to 1995. The treatment elevated nitrification, causing an increase in acid input that led to inorganic Al concentrations of greater than 60 ??mol L-1 in both the Oa and Bh horizons. Solubility of Al was also lower in the Bh horizon of the treated stand than in the reference stand, a response related to higher DOC concentrations in the treated stand. Concentrations of CuCl2 and pyrophosphate-extractable Al were higher in the Oa horizon of the treated watershed than the reference stand, a result of accelerated weathering of mineral particles caused by lower solution pH in the treated stand (3.47) than in the reference stand (3.69). Dissolved Al concentrations in these soils are the result of complex mechanisms through which mineral matter, organic matter, and pH interact to control Al solubility; mechanisms that are not incorporated in current Al solubility models.
Additional publication details
Response of aluminum solubility to elevated nitrification in soil of a red spruce stand in eastern Maine