Concentrations and distributions of Al, Ca, Cl, K, Mg and Mn in a Scots pine forest in Belgium

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    A Pinus sylvestris stand located in Mol, Belgium was studied for its content of six elements: Ca, K, Mg, Al, Cl and Mn. A fractionation of tree components was carried out into 8 classes (heart and sapwood, inner and outer bark, living terms of absolute and relative element contents. Quantitatively, Ca and K are the main elements: in young needles, Ca + K reach 83% of the elements' whole stock. The wood compartments (heartwood + sapwood) have generally low element content, as does the outer bark except for Ca (which is bound to suberin) and Al, possibly from atmospheric clay deposition. The inner bark, branches, twigs and young/old needles) and their element contents were measured. Comparisons were made between the different compartments in twigs and needles have high element contents possibly linked to high symplasmic content. The Inner bark shows high Ca and K contents as these elements are involved in phloem transport. Positive correlations were found between Ca and Al, Mn and Cl, K and Cl and K and Mn, attributed to similarity in chemical and biological function. A simple empirical compartment model was developed to derive numerically the transfer rates that reproduce the element distribution within tree compartments. The calculated mass flows appear to be within range of the limited data available from other pine tree studies.This study highlights the potential for coupling of specific elements (including radionuclides) to Ca, K, Mg, Al, Cl and Mn in context of vegetation modelling, by assuming that these elements follow the same pathways. We found indication that 36Cl, 90Sr and 137Cs (environmentally important from the perspective of nuclear power and waste management) can be coupled to Cl, Ca and K fluxes within the tree, increasing the understanding of the cycling of radionuclides in a forest ecosystem.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalEcological Modelling
    StatePublished - 24 Mar 2016

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