Canadian Forest Service Publications

Boreal ecosystem dynamics of ARNEWS plots: base line studies in the prairie provinces. 1994. Maynard, D.G.; Fairbarns, M.D. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northwest Region, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-327.

Year: 1994

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 11936

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)

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This report summarizes the base line conditions at the 12 Acid Rain National Early Warning System (ARNEWS) sites in the prairie provinces and suggests possible improvements in the present ARNEWS protocols based on the base line data. Five sites were established in white spruce (Picea glauca [Moench] Voss) stands and seven in pine stands (three lodgepole pine [Pinus contorta Dougl. var. latifolia Engelm] and four jack pine [Pinus banksiana Lamb.]). Soil and foliage samples were collected and analyzed for selected chemical properties. Vegetation analysis (e.g., plant cover estimates) of the understory were determined at each location. The base line chemistry data and vegetation analysis are summarized for each site and the general conditions of the forest ecosystems at these sites were accessed based on these data. The white spruce sites were well buffered and would be resistant to change as a result of acid deposition. The pine sites, in particular the jack pine sites, were located on coarse textured soils that would potentially be the most sensitive to inputs of acid deposition. The fundamental premise on which the ARNEWS program was based is the most logical approach for Canadian forests. There are, however, problems associated with the soil chemical and vegetation analysis monitoring. The major possible improvements include increasing the number of replicates in the surface organic horizon for chemical analysis, sampling soil and foliage for chemical analysis during the biologically active period (July or early August), re-evaluate the understory vegetation analysis to assess whether this is an acceptable indicator criteria and include more sites on soils potentially sensitive to acid deposition.