Stemflow Acid Neutralization Capacity in a Broadleaved Deciduous Forest: The Role of Edge Effects
University of Delaware
Atmospheric deposition is an important pathway for moisture, nutrient, and pollutant exchange among the atmosphere, forest, and soils. Previous work has shown the importance of proximity to the forest edge to chemical fluxes in throughfall, but far less research has considered stemflow. This study examined the difference in acid neutralization capacity (ANC) of stemflow of nineteen Liriodendron tulipifera L. (yellow poplar) trees between the forest edge and interior in a rural area of northeastern Maryland. We measured ANC directly via potentiometric titration. Stemflow from trees at the forest edge was found to have significantly higher and more variable pH and ANC than in the forest interior (p < 0.01). No mathematical trend between ANC and distance to the forest edge was observed, indicating the importance of individual tree characteristics in stemflow production and chemistry. These results reaffirm the importance of stemflow for acid neutralization by deciduous tree species.