Skip to Main Content
The Fernow Watershed Acidification Study: ecosystem acidification, nitrogen saturation and base cation leachingAuthor(s): Mary Beth Adams; James N. Kochenderfer; Pamela J. Edwards
Source: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus. 7: 267-273.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (299.92 KB)
DescriptionIn 1989, a watershed acidification experiment was begun on the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia, USA. Ammonium sulfate fertilizer (35.5 kg N ha−1 yr−1 and 40.5 kg S ha−1 yr−1) was applied to a forested watershed (WS3) that supported a 20-year-old stand of eastern deciduous hardwoods. Additions of N and S are approximately twice the ambient deposition of nitrogen and sulfur in the adjacent mature forested watershed (WS4), that serves as the reference watershed for this study. Acidification of stream water and soil solution was documented, although the response was delayed, and acidification processes appeared to be driven by nitrate rather than sulfate. As a result of the acidification treatment, nitrate solution concentrations increased below all soil layers, whereas sulfate was retained by all soil layers after only a few years of the fertilization treatments, perhaps due to adsorption induced from decreasing sulfate deposition. Based on soil solution monitoring, depletion of calcium and magnesium was observed, first from the upper soil horizons and later from the lower soil horizons. Increased base cation concentrations in stream water also were documented and linked closely with high solution levels of nitrate. Significant changes in soil chemical properties were not detected after 12 years of treatment, however.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationAdams, Mary Beth; Kochenderfer, James N.; Edwards, Pamela J. 2007. The Fernow Watershed Acidification Study: ecosystem acidification, nitrogen saturation and base cation leaching. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution: Focus. 7: 267-273.
Keywordsacidic deposition, base cation leaching, forest soils, nitrogen saturation, soil solution chemistry
- Recovery from chronic and snowmelt acidification: Long-term trends in stream and soil water chemistry at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hampshire, USA
- Soil leachate responses during 10 years of induced whole-watershed acidification
- Experimental Acidification Causes Soil Base-Cation Depletion at the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine
XML: View XML