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Estimating the Mean Residence Time of Lead in the Organic Horizon of Boreal Forest Soils Using 210-Lead, Stable Lead and a Soil Chronosequence

Jonatan Klaminder, Richard Bindler, Ove Emteryd, Peter Appleby and Harald Grip
Biogeochemistry
Vol. 78, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 31-49
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20519799
Page Count: 19
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Estimating the Mean Residence Time of Lead in the Organic Horizon of Boreal Forest Soils Using 210-Lead, Stable Lead and a Soil Chronosequence
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Abstract

Knowledge about the residence time of lead in the organic horizon (mor layer; O-horizon) overlaying forest mineral soils is important for the prediction of past and future lead levels in the boreal environment. To estimate the mean residence time (MRT) of lead in the mor layer, we use in this study from Northern Sweden three different approaches: (1) lead-210 is applied as a tracer of lead migration; (2) estimations of loss rates of stable lead (concentrations and ²⁰⁶Pb/²⁰⁷Pb ratios) from the mor layer at an undisturbed forest setting, and (3) a study of lead in a soil series with sites of different age (a chronosequence of 20-220 years). In the last two approaches we compared measured inventories in the soil with estimated inventories derived using analyses of lake sediments. The results suggested a MRT of about 250 years in the mor layer in the mature forest and in the older parts of the chronosequence it was at least >170 years. The agreement between the three different approaches gives good credibility to this estimate. It is also supported by a modeling of trends in the ²⁰⁶Pb/²⁰⁷Pb ratio both between single cores and with depth in the mor layer. Our results suggest that it will take centuries for the deeper parts of the mor layer of undisturbed boreal forest soils to fully respond to decreased atmospheric lead pollution. However, data from the chronosequence indicate that the response could be much faster (MRT< 50 years) in the mor layer at early stages of forest succession where graminoid and broadleaved litter fall dominates over conifer litter.

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