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SOIL ACIDIFICATION AND BUFFERING MECHANISMS IN THE BOREAL BIOGEOGRAPHICAL REGION $100.00
Authors:  Ryunosuke Kikuchi and Tamara T. Gorbacheva
Abstract:
Large tracts of land are in almost pristine condition in the Kola Peninsula, the most
northern region of the European fringe of the Russian Federation, but mining and its
associated activities release large amounts of sulfur dioxide and heavy metal pollutants to
the surroundings.
In-situ environmental monitoring was conducted in tree-grown areas (Picea obovata)
260 km away from the Monchegorsk smelter complex from 1999 to 2003 in order to
observe the effect of pollution on forested podzolic land in the Kola region. Throughfall
in these areas sometimes showed a strong acidity (below pH 4). It was observed that
acidic deposition accumulates on the snow during the winter and snowmelt water with a
high flux of hydrogen ions (about 30 mg/m2) streams into the soil in spring. However, the
soil system showed a high acid neutralization capacity under natural conditions. That is,
the flux of hydrogen ions in the soil solution varied between 1 and 3 mg/m2 throughout
the year. As the amount of exchangeable cations in the podzolic horizon is comparatively
low, attention was focused on the soil surface (litter layer of a few cm) to examine the
high neutralization capacity.
A laboratorial experiment was conducted. It follows from the obtained data that the
mixture of young litter with old litter has a higher neutralization capacity than young
litter. It is considered that the consumption of hydrogen ions by organic matter contained in the litter takes place as a main reaction, and the neutralization of the soil solution by
cation exchange takes place in the litter layer as a side reaction.
The event cycle of the soil (frost, freeze and thaw) no doubt has an important role in
the soil system, but it is difficult to clearly characterize this role due to the multiple
effects of biological, physical and chemical variables. In particular, its relation with the
acid buffer effect of the litter is an important subject for future study. 


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SOIL ACIDIFICATION AND BUFFERING MECHANISMS IN THE BOREAL BIOGEOGRAPHICAL REGION