Apr 20, 2004

Monitoring historical changes in soil and atmospheric trace metal levels by dendrochemical analysis

Environmental Pollution
S A Watmough


The use of dendrochemistry for monitoring historical changes in trace metal deposition and mobilisation of metals in soils is evaluated. In experimental studies, mobilisation of trace metals in surface soil following deliberate acidification was recorded in sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree-rings with minimal lateral movement between rings. Furthermore, positive correlations between wood (3 year section 1993-95) and foliar chemistry (mean concentration 1993-95) were found for Cd and Zn, but not for Cu and Ni, showing that mobility up the tree bole differs between metals. Even so, substantial lateral movement of elements between rings occurs in some species. Stable Pb isotope ratios in tree-rings were used to show that sacred fir (Abies religeosa) is not a useful monitor of Pb deposition because Pb accumulates in the heartwood. Numerous sophisticated analytical techniques are now used in dendrochemical studies, including laser ablation sampling in conjunction with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry that enable the multi-element analysis of extremely small tree-rings with low detection limits. Clearly, not all tree species are suitable for dendrochemical studies, but if careful sampling strategies are used and suitable ...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Abies religiosa
Trace metal
Acidification - ActCode
Chemical Analysis
Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
Biological Acidification
Acer saccharum

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