The canopy budget model simulates the interaction of major ions within forest canopies based on throughfall and precipitation measurements. The model has been used for estimating dry deposition and canopy exchange fluxes in a wide range of forest ecosystems, but different approaches have been reported. We give an overview of model variations with respect to the time step, type of open-field precipitation data, and tracer ion, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different assumptions on ion exchange within forest canopies. To examine the effect of model assumptions on the calculated fluxes, nine approaches were applied to data from two deciduous forest plots located in regions with contrasting atmospheric deposition, i.e. a beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) plot in Belgium and a mixed sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.) plot in Quebec. For both forest plots, a semi-annual time step in the model gave similar results as an annual time step. Na+ was found to be more suitable as a tracer ion in the filtering approach than Cl- or SO42- . Using bulk instead of wet-only precipitation underestimated the potentially acidifying deposition. To compute canopy uptake of NH4+ and H+, ion exchange with K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ as well as simultaneous cation and anion leaching should be considered. Different equations to allocate NH4+ vs H+ uptake had most effect on the estimated fluxes of the cation that was less important at a plot. More research is needed on the relative uptake efficiency of H+, NH4+, and NO3- for varying tree species and environmental conditions.
EWI Biomedical sciences