Heavy Metal Stocks and Concentrations in Forest Soils

  • Utermann J
  • Aydın C
  • Bischoff N
  • et al.
Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.

This article is free to access.


Increased deposition of reactive nitrogen (N) since pre-industrial times has dramatically altered the conditions for forest growth and decomposition of organic material in Germany. The second National Forest Soil Inventory (NFSI II, 2006–2008) shows the status of N accumulation in forest soils. A median N stock of 6.3 t ha–1 has been found in the soil profile down to a depth of maximum 90 cm, whereof 50% is stored in the upper 30 cm of the mineral soil. The high regional variability of N stocks is explained by forest type, parent material, soil acidity, annual mean temperature, and adjacent agricultural land use. C/N ratios of the top soil were on average higher (24.0) than those during NFSI I (22.4, 1989–1992), which may be seen as a first effect of slowly decreasing deposition rates. Observations on limed plots suggest that acidification inhibits soil biological activity and thereby reduces N-storage in the mineral soil. The median annual N balance for German forest soils between NFSI I and II varies between +2.9 and +7 kg ha–1, depending on the harvest regime assumed. Negative N balances occurred mainly in mountain ranges like the Black Forest or the Rhenish Slate Mountains. N stocks in the upper 30 cm of the soil generally increased, while there are indications for losses of N from deeper soil layers, potentially linked to progressing acidification in these layers. Irrespective of existing measurement uncertainties, the findings indicate the vulnerability of forest N stocks under changing conditions. Further reductions of N deposition should be strived for to reduce the risk of nitrate leaching from forest soils.




Utermann, J., Aydın, C. T., Bischoff, N., Böttcher, J., Eickenscheidt, N., Gehrmann, J., … Wellbrock, N. (2019). Heavy Metal Stocks and Concentrations in Forest Soils (pp. 199–229). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15734-0_7

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free