Release of aluminum following whole-tree harvesting at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, New Hamsphire

G. B. Lawrence, R. D. Fuller, C. T. Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


From fall, 1983, through spring, 1984, an experimental watershed at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hamsphire was commercially whole-tree harvested. Stream chemistry was monitored along an elevational gradient for approximately 1 yr prior to and 2 yr following the treatment in both the experimental watershed and an adjacent reference watershed. Whole-tree harvesting initially resulted in a large increase in stream NO3- and basic cation (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, and K+) concentrations and a decrease in stream sulfate concentrations. A decrease in pH and increase in Al concentrations followed. Elevational trends in stream chemistry were qualitatively similar before and after the cut, although the absolute concentrations of solutes changed markedly. These responses are explained by increased soil nitrification coupled with decreased vegetative uptake following the whole-tree harvest. Acidity generated by nitrification facilitated the mobilization of basic cations and increased anion adsorption. When NO3- production exceeded the release of basic cations, stream pH declined and Al concentrations increased. Aluminum was released in an entirely inorganic form resulting in potentially toxic concentrations in streamwater.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-390
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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