The chemistry and flux of throughfall and stemflow in subalpine balsam fir forests

Olson, R.K.; Reiners, W.A.; Cronan, C.S.; Lang, G.E.

Holarctic Ecology 4(4): 291-300


DOI: 10.2307/3682250
Accession: 006613816

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The fluxes of water and chemicals in throughfall and stemflow of 3 subalpine balsam fir forests [made up of Abies balsamea, spruce, black spruce, beech, red pine, white pine, short leaf pine, jack pine and hardwoods] of New Hampshire, USA were measured. The 3 fir stands were highly dissimilar in structural characteristics, serving as a test of the importance of stand structure on these fluxes. The sum of throughfall and stemflow water exceeded incident precipitation by > 18-29%. This difference was attributed to the unmeasured input of cloud droplets impacted on canopy surfaces. The principal effect of stand structure was a positive relationship between stand density and stemflow. The flux of NH4+, Na+, SO42- and Cl- in stemflow was significantly higher in the most dense stand. The fir canopy effects on capture and chemical alterations of elements were compared with analogous behavior of a nearby deciduous forest. There were several major contrasts, the most striking of which was a flux/canopy pool ratio (leachability index) in the hardwood canopy ranging from 2-32 times higher than that in the fir canopy.