Effects On Forests

Field studies of the effects of acid precipitation on forests have been conducted in the United States and Europe. Reports of decreased growth and increased mortality of forest trees in areas receiving high rates of atmospheric pollutants emphasize the need to understand and quantify both the mechanisms and kinetics of changes in forest productivity. The complex chemical nature of combined pollutant exposures and the fact that these changes can involve both direct effects to vegetation and indirect and possibly beneficial effects mediated by a variety of soil processes make quantification of such effects challenging. However, evidence is growing on the severity of forest problems in central Europe due to acid precipitation. For example, in West Germany, fully 560,000 hectares of forests have been damaged (Wetstone and Foster 1983).

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