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Cobalt Accumulation and Circulation by Blackgum Trees

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Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica Marsh.) trees accumulate far greater concentrations of cobalt in mature foliage than do other species on the same site (363 ppm in ash of blackgum, compared with about 3 ppm by mockernut hickory and about 1 ppm by red maple, tulip tree, and white oak). Cobalt concentrations in dormant woody tissues of blackgum also significantly exceed those in the other four species. Inoculation of six blackgums with 60Co revealed that cobalt remains mobile in the trees for at least 3 years. Foliar concentrations of stable cobalt increase uniformly until senescence. In late August, foliage accounts for only 9 percent of total tree weight but 57 percent of total tree cobalt. Losses of cobalt from trees occur almost entirely by leaf abscission, and the loss rates of weight and cobalt from decomposing litter are similar. Retention of cobalt in the biologically active soil layers perpetuates zones of cobalt concentration created by this species in woodlands. Forest Sci. 21:222-226.

Keywords: Foliar analysis; Nyssa sylvatica; litter decomposition; mineral cycling

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: American Bar Foundation, 1155 East 60th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637

Publication date: September 1, 1975

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