Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Acid Soils In Slovakia Tell Somber Tale

Date:
November 26, 2008
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
Increasing levels of nitrogen deposition associated with industry and agriculture can drive soils toward a toxic level of acidification, according to a study published in Nature Geoscience.

Western Tatra Mountains Slovakia.
Credit: Photo by Zdeno Kostka; courtesy of William D. Bowman, University of Colorado

Increasing levels of nitrogen deposition associated with industry and agriculture can drive soils toward a toxic level of acidification, reducing plant growth and polluting surface waters, according to a new study published online in Nature Geoscience.

The study, conducted in the Tatra Mountains of Slovakia by the University of Colorado, University of Montana, Slovak Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Geological Survey, shows what can happen when nitrogen deposition in any part of the world increases to certain levels—levels similar to those projected to occur in parts of Europe by 2050, according to some global change models.

On the basis of these results, the authors warn that the high levels of nitrogen deposited in Europe and North America over the past half century already may have left many soils susceptible to this new stage of acidification. The results of this further acidification, wrote the authors, are highly reduced soil fertility and leaching of acids and toxic metals into surface waters.

A long history of human-influenced nitrogen deposition has left soils in the Western Tatra Mountains of Slovakia highly acidic. The study reveals that the increased nitrogen load in the region triggers the release of soluble iron into alpine grassland soils. This iron release is indicative of extreme soil acidification, comparable to conditions seen in soils exposed to acid mine drainage.

"Recovery from such extreme chemical change could only occur in geologic time, which is why soil is considered a non-renewable resource," said USGS scientist Jill Baron, who helped analyze and interpret the study results.

In addition to this research, Dr. Baron has investigated the impacts of nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park for 26 years. "The Rocky Mountains and the Tatra Mountains represent the two ends of the atmospheric deposition effects trajectory," Dr. Baron said. "The effects of nitrogen deposition in Rocky Mountain National Park are just beginning to be observed, allowing resource managers the opportunity to help the region recover if deposition is reduced. In the Tatra Mountains National Park, however, soils are far beyond natural recovery in human time frames."

Much of the eastern U.S. and Northern Europe fall in the middle of the effects spectrum, she added.

Rocky Mountain and Tatra National Parks are sister parks, with scientists and managers beginning to cooperate in studies to understand both. Dr. Baron's work in Rocky Mountain National Park led to the establishment of a nitrogen threshold for the park in 2006, the first time the nation has established a critical load of a pollutant for any park environment. An agreement in 2007 between the Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, and Colorado Department of Health and Environment enabled the agencies to set target loads for reducing nitrogen emissions by 2012 to improve ecological conditions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bowman et al. Negative impact of nitrogen deposition on soil buffering capacity. Nature Geoscience, 2008; 1 (11): 767 DOI: 10.1038/ngeo339

Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "Acid Soils In Slovakia Tell Somber Tale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117153158.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (2008, November 26). Acid Soils In Slovakia Tell Somber Tale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117153158.htm
United States Geological Survey. "Acid Soils In Slovakia Tell Somber Tale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117153158.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins