Nutrient Cycles and H+
Budgets of Forest Ecosystems
The acidity of forest soil affects a wide range of ecological processes, including the solubility and exchange reactions of inorganic nutrients and toxic metals, the activities of soil animals and microorganisms, and the weathering of soil minerals. Changes in soil acidity result from an array of interacting processes that produce and consume hydrogen ions (H+). One source of acid is deposition from the atmosphere, in precipitation, fog-drip, and impaction of dry aerosols. Increases in the acidity of precipitation in industrialized regions have led to concern over increased H+ input to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Recent forest declines in Europe are associated with a suite of air pollutants and acid deposition is one of several candidate causes. Because acid input from the atmosphere is only one component of the H+ budget of an ecosystem, assessments of the probable impacts of acid deposition must include an accounting of both the buffering capacity of ecosystems and the natural production of H+ within the ecosystems. © 1987 Academic Press Inc. (London) Ltd.
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