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Base cation leaching from the canopy of a subtropical rainforest in northeastern Taiwan

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Abstract:

We examined base cation leaching from the canopy of a subtropical rainforest in northeastern Taiwan. The forest is characterized by extremely low levels of base cations in both canopy vegetation and in the soils. The rates of canopy leaching of K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ were very high, representing up to 30, 35, and 190%, respectively, of the amount stored in leaves. The rate of H+ retention in the canopy was close to the rate of base cation leaching, suggesting that cation leaching is neutralizing acid precipitation. The subtropical forest studied leached cations from the canopy throughout the year, unlike temperate deciduous forests, which are physiologically inert in the winter. The forest canopy of the subtropical forest we studied is impacted by acid deposition and fog throughout the winter because of frequent rainfall and high relative humidity. This continuous exposure to acid precipitation could cause more intense negative effects on the canopy of subtropical forests as compared with temperate forests exposed to similar pollution loads. We suggest that the low base status of subtropical forests growing on low base status soils may make them very vulnerable to the negative effects of air pollution.

Nous avons étudié le lessivage des cations basiques dans le couvert d'une forêt subtropicale ombrophile du nord-est de Taiwan. Cette forêt est caractérisée par des niveaux extrêmement faibles de cations basiques tant dans le couvert végétal que dans le sol. Les taux de lessivage de K+, Ca2+ et Mg2+ sont très élevés dans le couvert; ce qui représente respectivement jusqu'à 30, 35 et 190% de la quantité emmagasinée dans les feuilles. Le taux de rétention de H+ dans le couvert se rapproche du taux de lessivage des cations basiques; ce qui indique que le lessivage des cations neutralise les précipitations acides. Dans la forêt subtropicale sous étude, les cations dans le couvert sont lessivés pendant toute l'année, contrairement aux forêts décidues tempérées qui ne sont pas physiologiquement actives durant l'hiver. Le couvert de la forêt subtropicale que nous avons étudiée subit l'effet du brouillard et des dépôts acides pendant tout l'hiver à cause des précipitations fréquentes et de l'humidité relative élevée. Cette exposition continue aux précipitations acides pourrait entraîner des effets néfastes plus intenses dans le couvert des forêts subtropicales comparativement aux forêts tempérées exposées à des quantités similaires de pollution. Nous croyons que la faible quantité de cations basiques dans les forêts subtropicales qui croissent sur des sols pauvres en cations basiques peut les rendre très vulnérables aux effets néfastes de la pollution.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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