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A soil microcosm experiment was conducted (a) to compare dilute H2SO4, NH4NO3 fertilizer, and prilled S as possible experimental soil-acidifying treatments and (b) to observe soil chemical response to simulated throughfall and acidifying treatments. Simulated throughfall had a significant effect on soil chemistry, resulting in increased exchangeable bases and pH in the mineral soil horizons but little effect on the O horizon. Of the acidification treatments only simulated acid rain had significant effects on soil chemistry when compared to the control and the dry treatments. This reflected the relatively slow dissolution rate of the dry treatments coupled with the short duration of the experiment. Simulated acid rain decreased exchangeable base cations and pH while increasing exchangeable Al. The 2.5-cm layer of Bs horizon material immediately below the abrupt E horizon boundary proved to be the soil layer most responsive to chemical alteration.
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Maine Agricultural Experiment Station
soils, soil acidifying treatments
Fernandez, I.J. 1987. Vertical trends in the chemistry of forest soil microcosms following experimental acidification. Maine Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 126.