Elevation dependent sensitivity of northern hardwoods to Ca addition at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH, USA

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Forest Ecology and Management, ISSN: 0378-1127, Vol: 260, Issue: 12, Page: 2115-2124

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Minocha, Rakesh; Long, Stephanie; Thangavel, Palaniswamy; Minocha, Subhash C.; Eagar, Christopher; Driscoll, Charles T.
Elsevier BV; Elsevier
Agricultural and Biological Sciences; Environmental Science; Scientific Contribution Number 2375; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Forest Sciences
article description
Acidic deposition has caused a depletion of calcium (Ca) in the northeastern forest soils. Wollastonite (Ca silicate) was added to watershed 1 (WS1) at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (HBEF) in 1999 to evaluate its effects on various functions of the HBEF ecosystem. The effects of Ca addition on foliar soluble (extractable in 5% HClO 4 ) ions, chlorophyll, polyamines, and amino acids were studied in three hardwood species, namely sugar maple, yellow birch, and American beech. We further analyzed these effects in relation to elevation at Ca-supplemented WS1 and reference WS3 watersheds. Foliar soluble Ca increased significantly in all species at mid and high elevations at Ca-supplemented WS1. This was accompanied by increases in soluble P, chlorophyll, and two amino acids, glutamate and glycine. A decrease in known metabolic indicators of physiological stress (i.e., the amino acids, arginine and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and the diamine, putrescine) was also observed. In general, these changes were species-specific and occurred in an elevation dependent manner. Despite an observed increase in Ca at high elevation for all three species, only sugar maple exhibited a decrease in foliar putrescine at this elevation indicating possible remediation from Ca deficiency. At higher elevations of the reference WS3 site, foliar concentrations of Ca and Mg, as well as Ca:Mn ratios were lower, whereas Al, putrescine, spermidine, and GABA were generally higher. Comparison of metabolic data from these three species reinforces the earlier findings that sugar maple is the most sensitive and American beech the least sensitive species to soil Ca limitation. Furthermore, there was an increase in sensitivity with an increase in elevation.