Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Forestry (MF)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Dr. Chris D. Barton

Abstract

Combustion of fossil fuels has contributed to many environmental problems including acid deposition. The Clean Air Act (CAA) was created to reduce ecological problems by cutting emissions of sulfur and nitrogen. Reduced emissions and rainfall concentrations of acidic ions have been observed since the enactment of the CAA, but soils continue to receive some acid inputs. Soils sensitive to acid deposition have been found to have low pH, a loss of base cations and a shift in the mineral phase controlling the activity of Al3+ and/or SO42-. If inputs continue, soil may be depleted of base cations and saturated with Al and could cause low forest productivity. Soil solutions from lysimeters were taken in the Daniel Boone National Forest to evaluate potential impacts of acid deposition. In addition, tree-ring growth and chemical analysis created a timeline of forest health and ion accumulation. Physicochemical characteristics of the soils revealed that sites were very low in base saturation and pH and high in exchangeable acidity. Soil solution data indicated that sites periodically received high acid inputs leading to saturation of Al in soils and the formation of Al-hydroxy-sulfate minerals. Given these conditions, long-term changes in soil chemistry from acid deposition are acknowledged.