Canadian Forest Service Publications

Trace metal biogeochemical responses following wood ash addition in a northern hardwood forest. Deighton, H.D., Watmough, S.A., Basiliko, N., Hazlett, P.W., Reid, C.R., Gorgolewski, A., NRC Research Press (2021) 51: 817–833

Year: 2021

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40390

Language: English

Series: Miscellaneous Report (GLFC - Sault Ste. Marie)

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2020-0320

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Plain Language Summary

Wood ash may be useful as a forest soil amendment in Canada, but trace metals can have detrimental effects if they accumulate in, or are transported from, forest ecosystems. Metal concentrations in soil water and sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) seedling tissue chemistry were measured in a north temperate hardwood forest over 4 years following a biomass boiler ash addition field trial. Twenty plots (3 m 3 m) were established in Haliburton Forest with both fly and bot tom ash treatments of 0, 4, and 8 Mg·ha 1 with four replicates, and tension lysimeters were positioned in each plot at 30, 50, and 100 cm depths. Over the 4 years, soil water metal concentrations in treated plots were not significantly different from those of the control plots. No differences in metal concentrations in foliage of sugar maple seedlings could be detected, but there were significantly higher concentrations of some metals (Al, Fe, Zn, Pb, Ni, and Sr) in roots of treated plots. Simulated drought mobilized several metals in upper mineral soil, but this mobilization occurred similarly in controls and ash-treated soils. These results suggest that doses below 8 Mg·ha 1 industrial wood ash with trace metal concentrations below Canadian regulatory limits do not cause an increase in trace metal mobility or availability in northern hardwood forests with acidic soils during the first 5 years after application.