Acid Rain Effects

Acid precipitation causes multiple effects on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Also, acid precipitation and dry deposition can affect materials and even human health. Demonstrated effects on terrestrial ecosystems include necrotic lesions on foliage, nutrient loss from foliar organs, reduced resistance to pathogens, accelerated erosion of the waxes on leaf surfaces, reduced rates of decomposition of leaf litter, inhibited formation of terminal buds, increased seedling mortality, and heavy metal accumulation (Cowling and Davey 1981). Soil and vegetation and crop-related effects include soil acidification, calcium removal, aluminum and manganese solubilization, tree growth reduction, reduction of crop quality and quantity, elimination of useful soil microorganisms, and selective exchange of heavy metal elements for more beneficial mono- and divalent cations (Glass, Glass, and Rennie 1979). Soil microbiological processes such as nitrogen fixation, mineralization of forest litter, and nitrification of ammonium compounds can be inhibited, the degree depending on the amount of cultivation and soil buffering capacity (Cowling and Davey 1981).

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