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Silicate mineral weathering rate estimates: Are they precise enough to be useful when predicting the recovery of nutrient pools after harvesting?
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden.
Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
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2011 (English)In: Forest Ecology and Management, ISSN 0378-1127, Vol. 261, no 1, 1-9 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Are current estimates of silicate minerals weathering rates precise enough to predict whether nutrient pools will recover after forest harvesting? Answering this question seems crucial for sustainable forestry practices on silicate dominated soils. In this paper, we synthesize estimated Ca and K weathering rates (derived using seven different approaches) from a forested area in northern Sweden (the Svartberget-Krycklan catchment) to evaluate the precision of weathering rate estimates. The methods were: mass-balance budgets (catchment and pedon-scale); long-term weathering losses inferred from weathered soil profiles (using zirconium as a conservative tracer); strontium isotopes (Sr-86/Sr-85) as proxy for catchment export of geogenic Ca; climate based regressions; a steady-state, process-based weathering model (PROFILE) and a dynamic, conceptual catchment geochemistry model (MAGIC). The different methods predict average weathering rates of 0.67 +/- 0.71 g Ca m(-2) year(-1) (mean +/- stdev) and 0.39 +/- 0.38 g K m(-2) year(-1), suggesting a cumulative weathering release during a forest rotation period of 100 years that is the same magnitude as losses induced by forest harvesting at the end of the period. Clearly, forestry practices have the capacity to significantly alter the long-term nutrient status of the soil and cation concentrations in soil-water runoff. However, the precision in weathering estimates are lower than that needed to distinguish between effects on nutrient pools by different forest practices (complete-tree harvesting versus conventional stem only harvest). Therefore, we argue that nutrient budgets, where weathering rates play a crucial role, cannot be used as basis for resolving whether different harvesting techniques will allow nutrient pools to recover within one rotation period. Clearly, this hampers the prerequisite for sound decision making regarding forestry practices on silicate mineral dominated soils. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 261, no 1, 1-9 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-40050DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.09.040ISI: 000285132000001OAI: diva2:397736
Available from: 2011-02-15 Created: 2011-02-15 Last updated: 2011-09-26Bibliographically approved

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