Forest Floor Leaching: Contributions from Mineral, Organic, and Carbonic Acids in New Hampshire Subalpine Forests

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Science  21 Apr 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4339, pp. 309-311
DOI: 10.1126/science.200.4339.309-a


Analyses of soil water and groundwater samples from a high-elevation coniferous ecosystem in New England indicate that sulfate anions supply 76 percent of the electrical charge balance in the leaching solution. This result implies that atmospheric inputs of sulfuric acid provide the dominant source of both H+ for cation replacement and mobile anions for cation transport in subalpine soils of the northeastern region affected by acid precipitation. In soils of relatively unpolluted regions, carbonic and organic acids dominate the leaching processes.