Acid Rain on Acid Soil: A New Perspective

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Science  05 Aug 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4610, pp. 520-525
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4610.520


Acid rain is widely believed to be responsible for acidifying soil and water in areas of North America and northern Europe. However, factors commonly considered to make landscapes susceptible to acidification by acid rain are the same factors long known to strongly acidify soils through the natural processes of soil formation. Recovery from extreme and widespread careless land use has also occurred in regions undergoing acidification. There is evidence that acidification by acid rain is superimposed on long-term acidification induced by changes in land use and consequent vegetative succession. Thus, the interactions of acid rain, acid soil, and vegetation need to be carefully examined on a watershed basis in assessing benefits expected from proposed reductions in emissions of oxides of sulfur and nitrogen.