TitleTrace element concentration in tree-rings biomonitoring centuries of environmental change.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsPadilla KL, Anderson KA
Date Published11/2002
Acid Rain, Environmental Monitoring, Mass Spectrometry, Pinus, Time Factors, Trace Elements, Trees

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to examine trace element concentration in tree-rings over three and half centuries to assess macro-trends of environmental change. Tree-rings of a 350+ year old mammoth ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) were analyzed for element concentration and evaluated versus local and global historical events. The ponderosa pine was located 100 miles south of the Canada/USA border and 180 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, and grew near apple orchards, a public road, and Swakane Creek in western Washington, USA. The elements tested did not all display the same time versus concentration patterns. Copper and chromium displayed cyclic concentration patterns over the last 350+ years, which appear to be associated with local events. Strontium, barium, zinc and cadmium were found to be relatively constant between the mid 1600s and the early 1800s. Strontium, barium, zinc, and cadmium then increased beginning in the early 1800s for approximately 50 years then decreased to present day 2000. Significantly, similar changes seen in Ca, Mg, and Zn in other studies have been attributed to acid rain, whereas, in our study area there is no history of anthropogenic acid rain. Most importantly, our data goes back to the mid-1600s several hundred years further back than most other studies of this nature. This additional time data provides for a better context of trend data not previously available.

Alternate JournalChemosphere
PubMed ID12430645