Recovery from acidification alters concentrations and fluxes of solutes from Czech catchments

Academic Article


  • Changes in atmospheric deposition, stream water chemistry, and solute fluxes were assessed across 15 small forested catchments. Dramatic changes in atmospheric deposition have occurred over the last three decades, including a 70% reduction in sulphur (S) deposition. These changes in atmospheric inputs have been associated with expected changes in levels of acidity, sulphate and base cations in streams. Soil retention of S appeared to partially explain rates of chemical recovery. In addition to these changes in acid–base chemistry we also observed unexpected changes in nitrogen (N) biogeochemistry and nutrient stoichiometry of stream water, including decreased stream N concentrations. Among all catchments the average flux of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) was best predicted by average runoff, soil chemistry (forest floor C/N) and levels of acid deposition (both S and N). The rate of change in stream DIN flux, however, was much more closely correlated with reductions in rates of S deposition rather than those of DIN. Unlike DIN fluxes, the average concentrations as well as the rates of decline in streamwater nitrate (NO₃) concentration over time were tightly linked to stream dissolved organic carbon/dissolved organic nitrogen ratios DOC/DON and DON/TP rather than catchment characteristics. Declines in phosphorus adsorption with increasing soil pH appear to contribute to the relationship between C, N, and P in our study catchments. Our observations suggest that catchment P availability and its alteration due to environmental changes (e.g. acidification) might have profound effects on N cycling and catchment N retention that have been largely unrecognized.
  • Authors

  • McDowell, Bill
  • Oulehle, Filip
  • Tomáš Chuman
  • Jakub HruÅ¡ka
  • Pavel Krám
  • William H. McDowell
  • Oldřich MyÅ¡ka
  • Tomáš Navrátil
  • Miroslav Tesař
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2017
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

  • Biogeochemistry  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Acidification
  • Carbon
  • Eutrophication
  • Forest
  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Stream
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 251
  • End Page

  • 272
  • Volume

  • 132
  • Issue

  • 3