January 28, 2019 Recent News No Comments

A scientific manuscript prepared by E&S staff and colleagues from the State University of New York, Syracuse and the U.S. Geological Survey was recently accepted by the journal Plant and Soil. This publication is titled “Plant Richness and Composition in Hardwood Forest Understories Varies Along an Acidic Deposition and Soil-Chemical Gradient in the Northeastern United States” (Zarfos et al.). The study was conducted in understory plant communities in a northern hardwood forest of New York in association with gradients in acidic deposition, soil acidity, and base cation availability. Relative abundance of several species increased with soil acidity while others decreased. Understory plant richness decreased significantly with increasing soil acidity. The best multivariate regression model to predict richness reflected positive effects of pH and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N). The relationships we found between understory plant communities and soil-chemical gradients suggest that soil acidification can reduce plant diversity and alter the composition of vegetation communities in northern hardwood forests exposed to acidic deposition.

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