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Effects of wood ash on freshwater organisms and aquatic forest ecosystems
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Natural Sciences.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Wood ash application (WAA) has been recommended mainly for two reasons; i) to avoid depletion of minerals in the soil due to whole tree harvest in the forestry and ii) to mitigate harmful effects of acidification of soil and surface waters. In conclusion, the effects on terrestrial ecosystems and, especially, tree growth, can be attributed to the properties of the ash, the dose applied and the specific site at which the ash is applied. The research conducted on the effects of WAA on limnological ecosystems is very limited, and the major purpose of the present thesis was to gain knowledge of the effects of wood ash to different freshwater organisms, and the more comprehensive, limnological effects of WAA in the first stream in Bispgården, Sweden.

Effects of wood ash solutions on the unicellular alga Euglena gracilis Klebs, the amphipod Gammarus pulex L., and the moss Fontinalis antipyretica Hedw. were investigated under laboratory conditions. Common in all three species was the decline in performance (growth/velocity/respiration/oxygen evolution) when the concentration of wood ash exceeded 5 g/l and no adjustment of pH was done (alkaline solution). In contrast, different movement parameters (motility, upwards swimming and velocity) in E. gracilis (neutral conditions), and increased growth of F. antipyretica with increased concentrations of wood ash indicated that nutrients in the ash was bioavailable for these organisms. There was no evidence of toxic effects on the organisms from metals or other compounds as a result from exposure to wood ash solutions in the present studies.

The field study was conducted in a forest area close to Bispgården, about 100 km NW from Sundsvall, Sweden. The catchment area (50 ha) of the stream Fanbergsbäcken was treated with wood ash in September of 2004 (3,000 kg/ha;selfhardened crush-ash). In general, both biological (diatoms) and chemical (pH, alkalinity, and aluminum (Al) measurements) indicators have shown no significant effect on acidification parameters from the addition of wood ash. There was, however, evidence of an increased pH during spring flood, accompanied with a decrease in the frequency of low pH values (<5.6) during spring flood. In addition to this, alkalinity was significantly higher in the period 2005-2006, compared to that of 2003. High concentrations of toxic forms of Al repeatedly occured in the stream Fanbergsbäcken, and the WAA did not affect the frequencies of high concentrations of toxic Al forms (<50 μg/l). Both the moss F. antipyretica and the leaves from Alnus incana displayed increased potassium (K) concentrations, although other nutrients did not increase from WAA. In conclusion, no evidence of WAA being effective in restoring or improving the ecological status of freshwater environments has been established, either in the literature or in the present field study. On the other hand, there were no indications of harmful effects due to WAA, either. However, we still do not know the effects of wood ash on several organisms (predominantly invertebrates) inhabiting small ponds and other, temporary or permanent, freshwater ecosystems. In the context of WAA, these environments and organisms have not attended any attention in the research published to date, and future studies are strongly encouraged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2007. , 29 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 18
Keyword [en]
Wood ash, Euglena gracilis, Gammarus pulex, Fontinalis antipyretica, pH, alkalinity, toxicity, nutrients, first order stream
Keyword [sv]
Askåterföring, Vedaska, Akvatiska näringssystem, Mineralnäring
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-36Local ID: 5446ISBN: 978-91-85317-43-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-36DiVA: diva2:1973
Public defence
2007-05-25, O102, Campus Sundsvall, Sundsvall, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-11-20 Created: 2007-11-20 Last updated: 2009-05-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Effects on Motile Factors and Cell Growth of Euglena gracilis After Exposure to Wood Ash Solution: Assessment of Toxicity, Nutrient Availability and pH-Dependency
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects on Motile Factors and Cell Growth of Euglena gracilis After Exposure to Wood Ash Solution: Assessment of Toxicity, Nutrient Availability and pH-Dependency
2005 (English)In: Water, Air and Soil Pollution, ISSN 0049-6979, Vol. 162, no 1-4, 353-368 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Wood ash application (WAA) to the forest has been suggested as a resource of nutrients for trees and for restoration of acidified soils and surface waters. However, studies of the effects of WAA on aquatic systems are few. This study investigated the effects of wood ash (1-25 g L-1) on the unicellular flagellate Euglena gracilis, which has been proved to be a sensitive test organism for assessing environmental change. Long-term (7 days) growth studies and short-term (direct, 24 and 48 h) studies of different motile factors, using the automatic biological test system Ecotox, were conducted. The results show no indication of biotoxic effects due to wood ash (adjusted to neutral) treatments. However, when no adjustments of pH in wood ash solutions were made, inhibitory effects on motile factors and cell growth were observed at higher concentrations of wood ash (10-25 g L-1) due to high pH (> 8). In tests with pH adjusted to neutral, enhanced motility was observed. These results indicate that high concentration of WAA could affect freshwater environments.

Keyword
Euglena, wood ash, pH, nutrient
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-354 (URN)10.1007/s11270-005-7250-7 (DOI)000229510200022 ()3030 (Local ID)3030 (Archive number)3030 (OAI)
Available from: 2008-12-04 Created: 2008-11-19 Last updated: 2009-11-18Bibliographically approved
2. Respiration measurements can assess the fitness of Gammarus pulex (L.) after exposure to different contaminants: experiments with wood ash, cadmium and aluminum
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Respiration measurements can assess the fitness of Gammarus pulex (L.) after exposure to different contaminants: experiments with wood ash, cadmium and aluminum
2005 (English)In: Archiv für Hydrobiologie, ISSN 0003-9136, Vol. 164, no 4, 479-491 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Wood ash application has been suggested as a means to mitigate acidification of surface waters. However little is known about the effects of wood ash to freshwater organisms. A Clark-type oxygen electrode was used to investigate the effects of wood ash, cadmium and aluminum on the respiration of the freshwater amphipod Gammarus pulex (L.). Harmful effects following wood ash addition were primarily found to be explained by elevated pH. At high concentrations (> 1 g/l) of wood ash the respiration of G. pulex decreased when no adjustment of pH was made, a response that was negatively correlated to the elevated pH (r = -0.43). An ion-related response was also detected in the pH-adjusted (pH 7) tests, although it was not statistically significant. Cadmium proved to be sublethal in the range of 0.2-0.4mg/l in a 24-h exposure. Mortality was 100% at 0.5 and 1.0mg Cd/l. No effects were detected after exposure to Al, due to the high pH (pH 7-8) of the solutions and the subsequently low concentrations of labile monomeric Al. We demonstrate that the method described in this paper could be a useful probe for the detection of sublethal concentrations of contaminants in freshwater ecosystems.

Keyword
GAMMARUS PULEX; WOOD ASH; CADMIUM; ALUMINUM; RESPIRATION; NUTRIENTS; PH
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-355 (URN)10.1127/0003-9136/2005/0164-0479 (DOI)000234433000004 ()
Note
VR-BiologyAvailable from: 2008-12-04 Created: 2008-11-19 Last updated: 2009-11-02Bibliographically approved
3. Effects on growth, photosynthesis and pigments of the freshwater moss Fontinalis antipyretica Hedw. after exposure to wood ash solution
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects on growth, photosynthesis and pigments of the freshwater moss Fontinalis antipyretica Hedw. after exposure to wood ash solution
2006 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 372, no 1, 236-246 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The application of wood ash from biofuel sources to the forest has been suggested as a source of nutrients for trees and for restoration of acidified soils and surface waters. Studies on the effects of wood ash on aquatic organisms and ecosystems are, however, few. This study investigated the effects of wood ash (0.1 - 10 g l-1) on the freshwater moss Fontinalis antipyretica Hedw., which has previously been shown to be a sensitive test organism for assessing environmental pollution. After nine weeks of treatment with wood ash, a significant effect of enhanced stem growth was observed at the higher concentrations (1 � 10 g l-1). The concentration of wood ash was also correlated to the growth of secondary branches. Photosynthesis (oxygen evolution after 4 h of exposure to wood ash) was significantly lower in the alkaline treatments (no pH adjustment) compared to the treatments with neutral wood ash solutions (pH adjusted to 7.5). Furthermore, photosynthesis in the alkaline wood ash treatments was significantly lower compared to the control. The ratio between the optical density value before and after acidification (OD665/665a) was higher for all wood ash concentrations compared to the control. The OD665/665a values ranged from 1.52 to 1.61 and there was a difference, however not significant, between the alkaline and the neutral treatment at 10 g l-1 wood ash. This study clearly demonstrated that wood ash may be beneficial for F. antipyretica at moderate concentrations (0.5 - 5 g l-1), particularly when sudden increase in pH is avoided.

Keyword
pigments, photosynthesis, Fontinalis antipyretica, growth, pH
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-356 (URN)10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.07.032 (DOI)000242887700024 ()16945405 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-33751114403 (Scopus ID)4370 (Local ID)4370 (Archive number)4370 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-01-07 Created: 2008-11-19 Last updated: 2016-09-30Bibliographically approved
4. Limnological effects on a first order stream after Wood Ash Application to a boreal forest catchment in Bispgården, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Limnological effects on a first order stream after Wood Ash Application to a boreal forest catchment in Bispgården, Sweden
2008 (English)In: Forest Ecology and Management, ISSN 0378-1127, Vol. 255, no 1, 245-253 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, whole tree harvest is common practice, possibly leading to the depletion of mineral nutrients. Furthermore, the increased use of forestry residues for heat production has caused an increasingly growing amount of by-product consisting of wood ash. Therefore, the Swedish Forest Agency has recommended wood ash application (WAA) to replace the mineral nutrients removed by whole tree harvesting, as well as a means to mitigate the acidification of boreal forests and surface waters. In a multidisciplinary study during 2003-2006 in Bispgarden (Sweden), we have investigated the limnological effects on a first order stream after WAA (conducted in 2004; 3000 kg ha-1) to a 50-ha forested catchment. In general, no significant effects on an annual basis were found for acidification parameters, such as pH, alkalinity and toxic forms of aluminum (Al). There was, however, evidence of an increased pH during the spring flood, accompanied by a simultaneous decrease in the frequency of low pH-values (<5.6). Moreover, alkalinity increased in the years 2005 and 2006 compared to that of 2003, although the increase in 2006 was not statistically different from that in 2005 or 2003. High concentrations of Al repeatedly occurred in the stream, and the WAA did not affect the frequencies of high concentrations of toxic Al forms (>50 μg 1-1). The benthic diatom community did not change as a result of the wood ash treatment and the diatom-based index IPS (Indice de PulluoSensibilité) indicated no nutrient enrichment or organic pollution of the stream water. There were, however, indices of elevated concentrations of potassium (K) in the aquatic moss Fontinalis antipyretica and in leaves from Alder (Alnus incana). We conclude that wood ash treatment of a forested catchment with the dose and form of ash applied in this study did not modify the freshwater ecosystem of a first order stream.

Keyword
wood ash, pH, aquatic ecosystems, Fontinalis antipyretica, Alnus incana
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-357 (URN)10.1016/j.foreco.2007.09.018 (DOI)000253618400027 ()2-s2.0-38649127208 (Scopus ID)5388 (Local ID)5388 (Archive number)5388 (OAI)
Note
VR-BiologyAvailable from: 2009-01-07 Created: 2008-11-19 Last updated: 2009-11-02Bibliographically approved

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