JOBBAGY GAMPEL Esteban Gabriel
Influence of lowland forests on subsurface salt accumulation in shallow groundwater areas
TÓTH T; BALOG K; SZABÓ A; PASZTOR L; JOBBÁGY EG; NOSETTO MD; GRIBOVSKI Z
Annals of Botany
Oxford University Press
In flat sedimentary plains in areas with a sub-humid climate, tree planting on grasslands and arable lands creates strong hydrological shifts. As a result of deep rooting and high water uptake of trees, groundwater levels drop and subsurface salt accumulation increases. Tree planting has expanded globally and in Hungary it reached rates of 15 000 ha year-1 , being focused mainly in the Great Hungarian Plain where forests replace grasslands and crops in a region with widespread shallow groundwater. We performed soil and groundwater observations in 31 pairs of forest and control plots in the region, including gradients of initial water table depth and salinity, soil layering, and tree species and age. Accumulated tree biomass was positively correlated with soil salinization rates following tree planting, being also affected by species (poplar . common oak . black locust) and stand age. Differences among tree species effects appeared to be related to their growth rates. Due to downward deep percolation and salt leaching episodes during the Hungarian winters, the observed salt accumulation rates were lower than those described under similar settings in the warmer Argentine Pampas.