Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Joe Winstead, Gary Dillard, Frank Toman

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Air pollution and acid precipitation have long had an influence on plant and animal life. In this study, the level of sulfur in the stem tissue of Pinus echinata Mill. was measured in trees from various sites along the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau to determine the presence and pattern of sulfur deposition in this species. Overall, a 40.28% increase in sulfur levels was observed from four sites along the plateau with levels increasing from 0.072 mgS/gdwt in the 1962-66 growth increment to 0.101 mg in the 1982-86 increment. According to a computer generated analysis of variance, the differences observed are a function of increasing levels through time and are less related to geographic differences. Significant differences were measured in the sulfur content of saplings and mature trees from the Rock Creek collection site; no changes were detected in the levels of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen from Rock Creek between 1957-1962. A preliminary study of sulfur uptake in seedlings resulted in no conclusive results. While the effects of pollutants on plant health has been intensely studied, long term effects including pollutant influences on wood product quality are less well documented. The pattern of increased deposition seen in the current study indicates that more work is needed to understand all of the impacts and implications of sulfur deposition in important forest species such as Pinus echinata.


Biology | Botany | Earth Sciences | Environmental Sciences | Life Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Plant Sciences