Calcium inputs and transport in a base-poor forest ecosystem as interpreted by Sr isotopes

Scott W. Bailey, James W. Hornbeck, Charles T. Driscoll, Henri E. Gaudette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


Depletion of Ca in forests and its effects on forest health are poorly quantified. Depletion has been difficult to document due to limitations in determining rates at which Ca becomes available for ecosystem processes through weathering, and difficulty in determining changes in ecosystem storage. We coupled a detailed analysis of Sr isotopic composition with a mass balance at Cone Pond Watershed, New Hampshire, in order to further constrain estimates of these processes. Strontium acted as an analog for Ca in most processes except translocation of nutrients within forest vegetation. Variability in mineralogic and Sr isotopic composition of bedrock and soils complicated assessment of the 87Sr/86Sr ratio released to solution by weathering reactions. By conducting a mass balance on atmospherically derived Ca, it is possible to distinguish Ca weathering losses from Ca leached from ecosystem pools. The calcium weathering rate estimated by this method was less than half of that determined by mass balance assuming steady state conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-719
Number of pages13
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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