Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.3 MB)

Title: Gaseous mercury fluxes from forest soils in response to forest harvesting intensity: A field manipulation experiment

Author: Mazur, M.; Mitchell, C.P.J.; Eckley, C.S.; Eggert, S.L.; Kolka, R.K.; Sebestyen, S.D.; Swain, E.B.;

Date: 2014

Source: Science of The Total Environment. 496: 678-687.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Forest harvesting leads to changes in soil moisture, temperature and incident solar radiation, all strong environmental drivers of soil-air mercury (Hg) fluxes. Whether different forest harvesting practices significantly alter Hg fluxes from forest soils is unknown.We conducted a field-scale experiment in a northern Minnesota deciduous forest wherein gaseous Hg emissions from the forest floor were monitored after two forest harvesting prescriptions, a traditional clear-cut and a clearcut followed by biomass harvest, and compared to an unharvested reference plot. Gaseous Hg emissionswere measured in quadruplicate at four different times between March and November 2012 using Teflon dynamic flux chambers. We also applied enriched Hg isotope tracers and separately monitored their emission in triplicate at the same times as ambient measurements. Clearcut followed by biomass harvesting increased ambient Hg emissions the most. While significant intra-site spatial variability was observed, Hg emissions from the biomass harvested plot (180 ± 170 ng m-2 d-1) were significantly greater than both the traditional clearcut plot (-40 ± 60 ng m-2 d-1) and the un-harvested reference plot (-180±115 ng m-2 d-1) during July. This difference was likely a result of enhanced Hg2+ photoreduction due to canopy removal and less shading from downed woody debris in the biomass harvested plot. Gaseous Hg emissions frommore recently deposited Hg, as presumably representative of isotope tracer measurements, were not significantly influenced by harvesting. Most of the Hg tracer applied to the forest floor became sequestered within the ground vegetation and debris, leaf litter, and soil. We observed a dramatic lessening of tracer Hg emissions to near detection levels within 6 months. As post-clearcutting residues are increasingly used as a fuel or fiber resource, our observations suggest that gaseous Hgemissions fromforest soilswill increase, although it is not yet clear for how long such an effect will persist.

Keywords: Forest, Gaseous mercury emissions, Clearcut, Biomass harvesting, Mercury isotope, Solar radiation

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Mazur, M.; Mitchell, C.P.J.; Eckley, C.S.; Eggert, S.L.; Kolka, R.K.; Sebestyen, S.D.; Swain, E.B. 2014. Gaseous mercury fluxes from forest soils in response to forest harvesting intensity: A field manipulation experiment. Science of The Total Environment. 496: 678-687.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.