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Acid Rain: Facts and Fallacies

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Acid rain is a complex environmental problem that is hard to define in terms of sources and effects. Major sources are thought to be atmospheric emissions, mostly from urban sources, although exact locations and the means by which emissions are transformed to acid rain are not entirely clear. Lack of long-term records has made it difficult to determine how fast rainfall acidity is changing, and whether the problem is intensifying or spreading. Although the sources of acid rain are thought to be largely urban, long-range transport of emissions by weather systems has made acid rain a potential threat to forest and aquatic ecosystems in rural settings. Major concerns are an increased rate of acidification of soils and lakes and possible damage to the cuticular layer protecting foliar organs. When coupled with the complex interactions of ecosystems. the gradual effects of acid rain are extremely difficult to quantify. Foresters must stay abreast of this environmental problem and help ensure that any impacts are minimized.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Hydrologist with the Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Durham, New Hampshire

Publication date: 1981-07-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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