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'Acid Rain' And Forest Mass: Another Perspective

Date:
October 14, 2005
Source:
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Summary:
A few years ago the study of the effects of atmospheric deposition on forest ecosystems reached beyond the scientific sphere and the term "acid rain" was coined. This problem, which ignores frontiers, happens because, due to the burning of fossil fuels, the amount of sulphur and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere is greater than that derived from natural processes.

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Inthis research, the recycling of nutrients was studied in two, five-yearperiod stages and in two young radiata pine forests (the first stage)and in two oak woods (the second). To this end, weekly samples of rain,transcolation (fraction of the precipitation that passes through theforest canopy), and litterfall (vegetable material fallen from trees:leaves, twigs, fruit, and so on), the first 25 cm of mineral soil andgreen foliage were taken and analysed chemically, according to standardprotocols. The location of parcels was carried out as a function oftheir distance from different foci of emission of contaminants. A flowequilibrium model for the canopy was drawn up together with ageneralised micrometeorological model in order to estimate the totaldeposition of atmospheric constituents. Also, a model for foliar growthand abscision was designed using proportions of the various cohorts ofthe samples of green branches and litterfall.

The total nitrogendeposition was greater that that deemed to be the admissible criticalload in European forest ecosystems so that the nitrogen saturation ofthe ecosystems studied is, or shortly will be, a fact. The canopy ofthe forests was able to neutralise the atmospheric deposition in aneffective manner although the potential acidity was greater in thoseareas near emission foci. The uptake of acidifying ions and nitrogencaused an acceleration of the return of nutrients (amount of nutrientsthat the vegetation gives back to the soil together with the litterfalland foliar excretion) and a drop in their retranslocation (reabsorptionof nutritive elements). Thus, the efficiency in the use of cations wasaffected by the atmospheric deposition of contaminants. Magnesiumdeficiency was observed in all the adult formations studied. Theacceleration of the return of nutrients and the drop in the efficiencyof their use is proposed as an explanation of this disorder.

Thanksto this investigation, it was concluded that the atmospheric depositionof contaminants produces damage in the forest masses of Bizkaia and maybe aggravated in the future.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Elhuyar Fundazioa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Elhuyar Fundazioa. "'Acid Rain' And Forest Mass: Another Perspective." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051014073029.htm>.
Elhuyar Fundazioa. (2005, October 14). 'Acid Rain' And Forest Mass: Another Perspective. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051014073029.htm
Elhuyar Fundazioa. "'Acid Rain' And Forest Mass: Another Perspective." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051014073029.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

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