The importance of atmospheric deposition, charge and atomic mass to the dynamics of minor and rare elements in developing, ageing, and wilted leaves of beech (Fagus sylvatica L.)
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The amounts of sixty elements in developing, maturing, senescent and wilting leaves, and in the wintering dead leaves attached to the branches, are reported for a beech (Fagus sylvatica) forest on mor Podzol in south Sweden, a site with no local sources of pollution or geological anomalies. The amounts (contents per leaf) of K (potassium), Rb (rubidium), Cs (caesium), Cu (copper) and P (phosphorus) were highest in young leaves, decreasing throughout the growing season and usually in the subsequent winter. The entirely opposite pattern with a continuous, mostly even increase of the amounts was measured with Be (beryllium), Ba (barium), Hg (mercury), Al (aluminium), TI (thallium), Pb (lead), Bi (bismuth), V (vanadium), W (tungsten), As (arsenic), Sb (antimony), and Se (selenium). Amounts of rare-earth elements and some transition metals, such as Cc (cobalt), Ti (titanium), and the actinides Th (thorium) and U (uranium) were more stable during the growing season, after an initial increase in early summer, but increased greatly in the winter. This winter increase in dead attached leaves has to be accounted for by uptake from long-distance transported constituents in dry and wet deposition. It was similar to deposition rate estimates using moss carpets from the same locality. A passive uptake was positively related to ionic charge and atomic mass. However, the amounts of several, mainly non-essential elements, such as Ni (nickel), Sc (scandium), Zr (zirconium), Cr (chromium), Ag (silver), and Cd (cadmium) were not much lower in the young or maturing leaves than in the wintered dead leaves of this deciduous (hardwood) forest and a proportion apparently originated from internal translocation in the trees. Seasonal fluxes or cycling of many of the scarce or rare elements reported here have never been studied before in forest ecosystems. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.