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Additions of acid anions can alter the cycling of other nutrients and elements within an ecosystem. As strong acid ions move through a forest, they may increase the concentrations of nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) in the soil solution and stream water. Such treatments also may increase or decrease the availability of other anions, cations and metal ions in the soil. A number of studies in Europe and North America have documented increases in base cation concentrations such as calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) with increased N and S deposition (Foster and Nicolson 1988, Feger 1992, Norton et al. 1994, Adams et al. 1997, Currie et al. 1999, Fernandez et al. 2003). Experiments in Europe also have evaluated the response of forested watersheds to decreased deposition (Tietema et al. 1998, Lamersdorf and Borken 2004). In this chapter, we evaluate the effects of the watershed acidification treatment on the cycling of N, S, Ca, Mg and potassium (K) on Fernow WS3.


This article first appeared in 2006, MB Adams, DR DeWalle, and J Hom, editors. The Fernow Watershed Acidification Study, Series: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 11, New York, NY: Springer and is reprinted with permission. The final publication is available at