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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Forest biomass accumulation is an important source of acidity to forest soils: Data from Swedish inventories of forests and soils 1955 to 2010

Karltun, Erik; Stendahl, Johan; Iwald, Johan; Lofgren, Stefan


The input of acidity to Swedish forest soils through forestry between 1955 and 2010 is compared with the acid input from atmospheric deposition. Depending on region, input of acidity from forestry was the minor part (25-45%) of the study period's accumulated acid input but is now the dominating source (140-270 mol(c) ha(-1) year(-1)). The net uptake of cations due to the increase in standing forest biomass, ranged between 35 and 45% of the forestry related input of acidity while whole-tree harvesting, introduced in the late 1990s, contributed only marginally (< 2%). The geographical gradient in acid input is reflected in the proportion of acidified soils in Sweden but edaphic properties contribute to variations in acidification sensitivity. It is important to consider the acid input due to increases in standing forest biomass in acidification assessments since it is long-term and quantitatively important.


Atmospheric deposition; Biological acidification; Critical loads; Forest harvest; Standing biomass; Soil impact

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2022, Volume: 51, number: 1, pages: 199-208
Publisher: SPRINGER