TERRAPUB Geochemical Journal

Geochemical Journal, Vol. 43 (No. 2), pp. e1-e4, 2009


Controls on sulfur content in tree rings of Norway spruce and European beech at a heavily polluted site

Martin Novak, Iva Jackova, Leona Zemanova, Daniela Fottova, Eva Prechova, Frantisek Buzek and Lucie Erbanova

Department of Geochemistry, Czech Geological Survey, Geologicka 6, 152 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic

(Received November 14, 2008; Accepted January 24, 2009; Online published March 5, 2009)

Abstract: Search for a biogeochemical archive of past sulfur pollution is motivated by the need to predict ecosystem health. Sofar, no indicator of local-scale S pollution has existed, while long-range transport of S can already be studied using polar ice records. One archive of S pollution in temperate climate zones could be annual growth rings of trees. However, S concentration patterns in tree rings of most species have been unknown because of negligible S accumulation in wood. We modified a wet chemistry procedure to increase the recovery of S from tree rings, and report time series of S concentrations in six trees from an acidified, spruce die-back affected area of Central Europe. Beech tree rings, despite 4 times lower atmospheric S inputs, exhibited twice higher S concentration in wood than spruce. The period of peak industrial S pollution of the 1980s did not result in enhanced S accumulation in tree rings of either species. Physiological processes rather than S abundance in the ecosystem regulate S storage in tree rings.
Key words: sulfur, tree rings, spruce, beech, pollution

[Full text] (PDF 120 KB)