Stable sulfur isotope analysis of sulfur di oxide pollution impact on vegetation

Winner, W.E.; Bewley, J.D.; Krouse, H.R.; Brown, H.M.

Oecologia 36(3): 351-362


ISSN/ISBN: 0029-8549
Accession: 006471119

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The .delta.34S [terrestrial S isotope abundance] value of SO2 emitted by natural gas refineries is about +25, which is higher than that for non-industrial S sources in the study areas. Terrestrial mosses absorb SO2 from the atmosphere and have a .delta.34S value which is directly related to the degree of SO2 stress to which they are subjected. The .delta.34S values for conifer needles are lower than for mosses at the same collection site, which indicates that trees obtain S from both atmospheric and soil sources. Potted conifers were transferred to sites differing in their degree of SO2 stress. This difference is reflected by the change of .delta.34S values of their needles. SO2 absorbent pot covers, such as charcoal and moss, reduce the amount of airborne S which is available to trees. Moss also may reduce SO2 absorbed by soils in forest stands. Analysis of .delta.34S values were used to help define SO2 dispersion patterns; reveal the rates at which plants accumulate this pollutant; and associate suspected SO2 injury more closely to an emission source.