The Chemical Composition of Rainfall and Throughfall in Five Forest Communities: A Case Study in Fort Benning, Georgia


In order to investigate the effects of canopy-dependent processes on throughfall chemistry, comparative studies on the chemical composition of throughfall were carried out in five characteristic forest types of the southeastern United States within Fort Benning Military Installation from January 2002 to August 2003. The concentrations and fluxes of and total organic carbon (TOC), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), and total phosphorus (TP) were determined in rainfall and throughfall. Seasonal variations in chemical fluxes were also evaluated. Throughfall concentrations of TOC, TKN, and TP in matured pine stand were higher than in rainfall and other forest stands. Throughfall nutrient concentrations in wetland were lowest as compared to rainfall as well as hardwood, mixed, plantation, and pine stands. The average TOC, TKN, and TP concentrations in the matured pine stand were 17.2, 0.74, and 0.057 mg/L, respectively. In wetland stands, average concentrations of TOC, TKN, and TP were 4.0, 0.54, and 0.034 mg/L, respectively. Hardwood stand had the lowest TKN concentration of 0.53 mg/L. Nutrient fluxes were generally higher during the dormant season (November–April) as compared to the growing season (May–October). The highest and lowest TOC fluxes during dormant season were contributed from pine stand (801.7 g/ha) and wetland stand (186.2 g/ha), respectively. Rainfall was the major contributor of TKN fluxes in growing season (32.3 g/ha) as well as in dormant season (34.1 g/ha). Similarly, highest TP flux was produced in mixed stand (2.7 g/ha) during the dormant season. Enrichment ratios of nutrients reveal that, in general, forest stands used up nutrients during growing season and washed off during the dormant season.


Earth Systems Research Center

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Water, Air, & Soil Pollution



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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010