Soil mercury distribution in adjacent coniferous and deciduous stands highly impacted by acid rain in the Ore Mountains, Czech Republic

Applied Geochemistry
By: , and 

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Abstract

Forests play a primary role in the cycling and storage of mercury (Hg) in terrestrial ecosystems. This study aimed to assess differences in Hg cycling and storage resulting from different vegetation at two adjacent forest stands - beech and spruce. The study site Načetín in the Czech Republic's Black Triangle received high atmospheric loadings of Hg from coal combustion in the second half of the 20th century as documented by peat accumulation rates reaching 100 μg m−2 y−1. In 2004, the annual litterfall Hg flux was 22.5 μg m−2 y−1 in the beech stand and 14.5 μg m−2 y−1 in the spruce stand. Soil concentrations and pools of Hg had a strong positive relation to soil organic matter and concentrations of soil sulfur (S) and nitrogen (N). O-horizon Hg concentrations ranged from 245 to 495 μg kg−1 and were greater in the spruce stand soil, probably as a result of greater dry Hg deposition. Mineral soil Hg concentrations ranged from 51 to 163 μg kg−1 and were greater in the beech stand soil due to its greater capacity to store organic carbon (C). The Hg/C ratio increased with depth from 0.3 in the O-horizon to 3.8 μg g−1 in the C horizon of spruce soil and from 0.7 to 2.7 μg g−1 in beech soil. The Hg/C ratio was greater at all mineral soil depths in the spruce stand. The organic soil Hg pools in beech and spruce stands (6.4 and 5.7 mg m−2, respectively) were considerably lower than corresponding mineral soil Hg pools (39.1 and 25.8 mg m−2). Despite the important role of S in Hg cycling, differences in soil Hg distribution at both stands could not be attributed to differences in soil sulfur speciation.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Soil mercury distribution in adjacent coniferous and deciduous stands highly impacted by acid rain in the Ore Mountains, Czech Republic
Series title Applied Geochemistry
DOI 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2016.10.005
Volume 75
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) New England Water Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 63
Last page 75
Country Czech Republic
Other Geospatial Ore Mountains