TitleCarbon isotopes in tree rings of Norway spruce exposed to atmospheric pollution
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsSantruckova, H, Santrucek, J, Setlik, J, Svoboda, M, Kopacek, J
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology

The Bohemian Forest was exposed to high levels of sulfur and nitrogen deposition during the last century. The change in acid deposition caused a rapid decline in pH and increase in Al concentrations of soil solutions since the 1950s. A possible negative effect of soil chemistry on growth of Norway spruce tree has been studied using the C-13 isotopic signal and chemistry of the tree rings. Tree rings were sectioned by decades, and whole wood was analyzed for isotopic composition (Delta C-13) and content of Mg, Ca, and Al. Only those rings that formed after the juvenile effect in early rings were used and trends from the beginning of 20th century were evaluated. The mean Delta C-13 of the spruce tree rings was 17.6%. The Delta C-13 did not follow climate changes but had an opposite trend to that of acid depositions and Al concentrations in soil solution, but a similar trend as soil acidification (pH decrease), implying a negative effect of acid deposition and soil acidification on tree physiology. The molar ratio of base cations to Al decreased together with Delta C-13.