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Volume 16, issue 7 | Copyright

Special issue: Data collection, analysis and application of speciated atmospheric...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 4529-4537, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-16-4529-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 13 Apr 2016

Research article | 13 Apr 2016

Mercury dynamics and mass balance in a subtropical forest, southwestern China

Ming Ma1, Dingyong Wang1,2, Hongxia Du1, Tao Sun1, Zheng Zhao1, Yongmin Wang1, and Shiqiang Wei1 Ming Ma et al.
  • 1College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
  • 2Chongqing Key Laboratory of Agricultural Resources and Environment, Chongqing 400715, China

Abstract. The mid-subtropical forest area in southwest China was affected by anthropogenic mercury (Hg) emissions over the past 3decades. We quantified mercury dynamics on the forest field and measured fluxes and pools of Hg in litterfall, throughfall, stream water and forest soil in an evergreen broadleaved forest field in southwestern China. Total Hg (THg) input by the throughfall and litterfall was assessed at 32.2 and 42.9µgm−2yr−1, respectively, which was remarkably higher than those observed from other forest fields in the background of North America and Europe. Hg fluxes across the soil–air interface (18.6mgm−2yr−1) and runoff and/or stream flow (7.2µgm−2yr−1) were regarded as the dominant ways for THg export from the forest field. The forest field hosts an enormous amount of atmospheric Hg, and its reserves is estimated to be 25341µgm2. The ratio of output to input Hg fluxes (0.34) is higher compared with other study sites. The higher output/input ratio may represent an important ecological risk for the downstream aquatic ecosystems, even if the forest field could be an effective sink of Hg.

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Elevated atmospheric deposition in China is predicted to increase due to fast economic development. We quantified Hg dynamics on the forest field and measured fluxes and pools of Hg in litterfall, throughfall, stream water and forest soil in southwestern China, and found that forest field retention can prevent Hg from entering into the downstream aquatic ecosystems. However, any changes in the forest floor like deforestation or forestland degradation may strongly affect Hg budget of the region.
Elevated atmospheric deposition in China is predicted to increase due to fast economic...
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