Jul 12, 2002

Historical changes in lead concentrations in tree-rings of sycamore, oak and Scots pine in north-west England

The Science of the Total Environment
Shaun A Watmough, Thomas C Hutchinson


Lead concentrations in tree rings of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.), oak (Quercus robur L.) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) sampled at a parkland in north-west England were measured in wood formed since the mid-1800s. Concentrations of Pb in Scots pine and oak peaked in wood formed between 1900 and 1940, most likely because of Pb accumulation in heartwood, indicating that oak and Scots pine are unsuitable for monitoring temporal changes in Pb deposition at the study site. In contrast, Pb concentrations in sycamore, a species that has similar heartwood and sapwood chemistry, were relatively constant in wood formed between the mid-1800s and 1950. Lead concentrations decreased steadily in sycamore tree rings formed after the 1950s, and decreased more abruptly in wood formed after 1985. This sharp decrease in wood Pb cannot be due to decreases in soil Pb concentration. Stable Pb isotope analysis was used to further investigate Pb patterns in sycamore wood. Excess 206Pb/207Pb ratios in tree-rings of sycamore were relatively constant, approximately 1.17, in wood formed prior to the 1930s, but decreased steadily thereafter reaching a minimum value of approximately 1.16 in wood formed between 1975 and 1985 after which time 206P...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Engine Exhaust
Trees (plant)
Pinus sylvestris (plant)
Air Pollutants, Environmental
Quercus robur
Picea excelsa
Lead Radioisotopes
Allergy Testing Sycamore (Lab Test)

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