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Effects on Living Things

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years ago

Acid Rain is harmful to many different elements of the environment today.





Through soil acid rain can affect plants and, ultimately, the surrounding ecosystem. According to the Environment Agency, certain "soils on chalk and limestone are naturally alkaline and neutralize deposition." Most of these soils exist in the western and Midwestern areas of North America. In the Northern regions there are other soils that are naturally acidic and they are "more sensitive to acid disposition" which is mapped out in the introduction to Acid Rain These types of soils can be found in places like Cumbria and Snowdonia in Northern Europe as well as certain regions of Canada.

The following are maps of Cumbria and Snowdonia and landscape pictures:


http://www.cumbriatouristguides.co.uk/images/cumbria_map.gif http://www.eryri-npa.co.uk/images/home/map_1.jpg

http://www.cumbria-bed-and-breakfast.co.uk/cumbria-media/PR%202625%20020.jpg http://www.ntjobs.org.uk/image/structural/DesignImage/snowdonia-contry_warden.jpg



When acid rain combines with soil, the acid deposition adds hydrogen ions. These ions are washed from the top soil and pushed deeper into the subsoil. Since tree roots rely on these ions for nutrients, the roots die which, in turn, weakens the tree and leads to its slow destruction. According to www.elmhurst.edu, this process is more commonly known as leaching.



Acid Rain also affects other plants by altering the growth patterns of certain plants which affect the surrounding communities. Toxins are also usually released into the plants soil which, if consumed, can kill different animals. A common example of a toxin released into the soil is Aluminum.




Other forms of wildlife acid rain affects are bodies of water such as lakes or ponds. Since most natural water has a relatively neutral pH, the additional H+ ions can be very harmful in a similar way that it affects soil. "In Sweden, acid rain has made over 18,000 lakes so acidic that all the fish have died. Some salmon and trout fisheries in small headwater rivers in Wales have been affected, natterjack toads in the south of England may have been lost due to the acidification of their spawning ponds, and dippers (a river bird) have lost some of their food supply" (Environment Agency, internet) Aquatic animals prefer water at certain pHs. The following is a list of different animals and their preferred pH taken from http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/195lakeeffects.html :


Small mouth Bass 6.0-6.5-----------Salamander 5.5-5.0

Mussel 6.5-6.0--------------------May Fly 6.0-5.5

Zooplankton 5.0-4.0---------------Frogs 4.5-4.0

Lake Trout 5.0-4.5----------------Brown Trout 5.5-5.0

Yellow Perch 5.0-4.5



Here is a picture of how acid rain affects trout:



Overall, acid rain is a threat to many forests and lakes in northern regions because of the soil's sensitivity to pH change. It is important to work to save our world and forests against acid rain. To learn more visit our prevention site.





__Acid Rain Effects__. 2003. Online. 23 May 2006.



Environment Agency, __Acid Rain__. 2006. Online. 17 May 2006.



__Acid Rain--A Contemporary World Problem__. May 2000. Online. 18 May 2006.



Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 5:52 am on May 20, 2006

Another good page, with lots of info. I have a few specific questions: Where are Cumbria and Snowdonia? What is the relationship between acid soil and toxins like aluminum? Why does the acid pH of soil cause toxin release? Lastly, It would be nice to relate your discussion of lakes and fish to the maps that are in your introduction. Are there more acid lakes in the northeast (US) and in industrial areas of the world? Is lake acidity affected more by the geology (calcium carbonate/limestone) or by proximity to polution sources?

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