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Lead Distribution in Tree Rings

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Large amounts of lead are being released into the environment from automobile exhaust. Many studies have dealt with the accumulation of lead in soils, plants, and animals; but few have dealt specifically with the accumulation of lead over time. This study evaluates the potential of tree rings as indicators of environmental lead accumulation. Three sampling locations were selected to provide several tree species, including sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh), red oak (Quercus rubra L.) and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), and a range of potential lead inputs based on traffic volume. Increment cores were taken from six trees of each species at locations near and remote to automobile traffic and subsampled for prior and current 10-year growth segments. The segments were analyzed by atomic absorption spectophotometry to obtain average lead concentrations. In cores taken near roads, significantly higher lead concentrations were found in the last 10 years growth than in the earlier 10-year growth period. Lead concentrations in cores from trees remote to roads showed no significant increase over time. Forest Sci. 20:283-286.

Keywords: Acer saccharum; Pinus taeda; Pollution; Quercus rubra; automobile exhaust; increment cores

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Assistant Professor of Forest Ecology and Environmental Studies, Department of Forestry and Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Illinois

Publication date: September 1, 1974

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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