Effects of acidic deposition on forest and aquatic ecosystems in New York State

Charles T. Driscoll, Kimberley M. Driscoll, Myron J. Mitchell, Dudley J. Raynal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Acidic deposition is comprised of sulfuric and nitric acids and ammonium derived from atmospheric emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and ammonia, respectively. Acidic deposition has altered soil through depletion of labile pools of nutrient cations (i.e. calcium, magnesium), accumulation of sulfur and nitrogen, and the mobilization of elevated concentrations of inorganic monomeric aluminum to soil solutions in acid-sensitive areas. Acidic deposition leaches essential calcium from needles of red spruce, making this species more susceptible to freezing injury. Mortality among sugar maples appears to result from deficiencies of nutrient cations, coupled with other stresses such as insect defoliation or drought. Acidic deposition has impaired surface water quality in the Adirondack and Catskill regions of New York by lowering pH levels, decreasing acid-neutralizing capacity, and increasing aluminum concentrations. Acidification has reduced the diversity and abundance of aquatic species in lakes and streams. There are also linkages between acidic deposition and fish mercury contamination and eutrophication of estuaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-336
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003


  • Acidic deposition
  • Acidification
  • Aquatic ecosystems
  • Forest ecosystems
  • Soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of acidic deposition on forest and aquatic ecosystems in New York State'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this