Effects of liming of upland soils on nutrient mobilities in relation to water quality
The work in this thesis relates to understanding the potential effects of using surface liming of upland soils to ameliorate water acidification. Effects on vegetation, soil, and drainage water chemistry are considered. Part I of this thesis reviews the environmental conditions of British Uplands (climate, soils and vegetation), and the relevant literature on water acidification in North-East Scotland. In Part II, each chapter deals with materials, methods used, discussion of the results and conclusion for one of a series of individual experiments. This pattern is followed for a number of laboratory, greenhouse and field studies. Liming of different organic soils significantly increased only the surface layer pH of the soils. The consequence of surface liming should be highly beneficial in terms of water quality, since most of the precipitation in the catchment under consideration (Glendye) during heavy storms, when river acid episodes occur, drains near or over the surface. The effect of lime on pH below the surface should be considered after a year or more. Liming on the other hand increased the mineralisation of organic N and released NH4+ and NO3-. The balance between N mineralization and immobilization by vegetation and microbial biomass should be considered carefully for each individual soil and site. If the mobile NO3- reaches the river or streams and increases the NO3- to beyond an acceptable limit, this could be considered an adverse effect of liming. Although within the timescale of this project there was no adverse effect noticed on the heather under field conditions, the long term effects should be considered carefully in terms of changing vegetation pattern as a result of liming, which will favour growth of grass.