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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R3KQ1R

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Assessing the long-term impact of acid deposition and the risk of soil acidification in boreal forests in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta, Canada Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
canopy budget
interception deposition
nitrogen deposition
sulfur deposition
Athabasca
acid deposition
canopy exchange
oil sands
critical load
soil acidification
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Jung, Kangho
Supervisor and department
Chang, Scott X. (Renewable Resources)
Examining committee member and department
Fernandez, Ivan J. (Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine)
Arshad, Muhammad A. (Renewable Resources)
Naeth, M. Anne (Renewable Resources)
Yu, Tong (Civil Engineering)
Chang, Scott X. (Renewable Resources)
Lieffers, Victor (Renewable Resources)
Department
Department of Renewable Resources
Specialization
Soil Science
Date accepted
2012-06-05T14:23:30Z
Graduation date
2012-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Significant amounts of SO2 and NOx have been emitted from the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) in Alberta, Canada, in the past several decades. The impact of acid deposition on forest ecosystems and the risk of soil acidification were assessed in jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and trembling aspen (aspen) (Populus tremuloides) stands in acid-sensitive watersheds (NE7 and SM8) in the AOSR. NE7 has been exposed to greater rates of deposition. A simulated N and S deposition experiment was also conducted. Nitrogen deposition increased N availability in NE7, indicated by increasing Diff_N (Diff_x: the difference of parameter x in tree rings between NE7 and SM8) and decreasing Diff_δ15N over time in aspen stands. Sulfur deposition increased in stemflow due to interception deposition, which decreased pH and base cations in soil towards jack pine but not towards aspen releasing enough base cations through canopy leaching. The Ca/Al ratio did not reach the critical limits of 1.0 for soil solution (range: 1.0 to 4.1) or 0.5 for fine roots (range: 0.7 to 7.9) while Al concentrations in soil solutions (range: 0.1 to 8.5 mg L-1) achieved the level inhibiting seedling growth of aspen and Picea glauca (a common species succeeding aspen). Critical loads of S deposition ranged from 223 to 711 molc ha-1 yr-1, and S deposition did not exceed critical loads; N deposition was not considered due to N limitation in boreal forests. Exceedances were underestimated when only bulk deposition was considered as compared to those that use total deposition because intercepted SO42- deposition made up approximately 60% of total deposition. The H+ budgets of soils were negative in NE7 and SM8, implying that soils were recovering from previous acidification, reflecting the reducing trends of S emission. Simulated N deposition provided beneficial effects on tree growth but not for understory. Simulated S deposition increased leaching loss of base cations and reduced exchangeable base cations in the surface soil. I concluded that acid deposition has changed soil and tree chemistry, and tree growth in the AOSR, which could give adverse effects on understory plants sensitive to Al toxicity and cationic nutrient deficiency.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R3KQ1R
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Jung et al. (2011). Environmental Pollution.

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