The chemistry of atmospheric deposition in Italy in the framework of the National Programme for Forest Ecosystems Control (CONECOFOR)
AbstractUnder the CONECOFOR programme, allied to the UE and UN-ECE programme on forests (ICP Forests), the chemistry of open field, throughfall and stemflow deposition was measured in 15 permanent plots over a two year period. Characteristics of the plots, sampling methods, treatment and analyses are in strict agreement with those adopted in the European programme. The plots are representative of different geographical conditions, from the Mediterranean area of the southern plots to the Alpine environment. Results show the highest amount of ion deposition related to anthropogenic emissions in the northern (PIE1, VEN1, FRI2) and central (EMI1, TOS1) stations, while most of the central and southern sites show a net flux of alkalinity. The acidity is however buffered by dust and dry deposition present on the canopy, so that the throughfall deposition is always alkaline. Nitrogen, both as ammonium and nitrate, is an important component of precipitation and critical loads are exceeded in most of the areas. This situation is confirmed by analyses of nitrate in runoff, performed in four plots, which show a release from the watershed in all seasons, indicating an overload of nitrogen compared to its possible uptake by vegetation and soil. N saturation is high in the northern and central plots of PIE1 and EMI2, moderate in the central and alpine plots of LAZ1 and FRI2.
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