Drought changes the dynamics of trace element accumulation in a Mediterranean Quercus ilex forest

J. Sardans, J. Peñuelas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    We conducted a field drought manipulation experiment in an evergreen oak Mediterranean forest from 1999 to 2005 to investigate the effects of the increased drought predicted for the next decades on the accumulation of trace elements that can be toxic for animals, in stand biomass, litter and soil. Drought increased concentrations of As, Cd, Ni, Pb and Cr in roots of the dominant tree species, Quercus ilex, and leaf Cd concentrations in Arbutus unedo and of Phillyrea latifolia codominant shrubs. The increased concentration of As and Cd can aggravate the toxic capacity of those two elements, which are already next or within the levels that have been shown to be toxic for herbivores. The study also showed a great reduction in Pb biomass content (100-135 g ha-1) during the studied period (1999-2005) showing the effectiveness of the law that prohibited leaded fuel after 2001. The results also indicate that drought increases the exportation of some trace elements to continental waters. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)567-583
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


    • Aluminum
    • Arsenic
    • Cadmium
    • Climate change
    • Holm oak
    • Jasmine box
    • Lead
    • Mediterranean forest
    • Quercus ilex
    • Strawberry tree
    • Trace elements


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