Researchers at UC Berkeley and Syracuse University have charted the long-term effects of acid rain on a forest ecosystem, according to a release. They found that plants in a watershed with calcium-treated soil outperformed those in one left untreated.
Helicopter flights dropped calcium pellets on half of the studied area over the course of the 15-year study. Scientists charted the tree and leaf growth of both areas and found that the calcium-treated watershed produced 21 percent more wood growth and 11 percent more leaf growth than the control watershed.
The study’s findings provide a causal link between the loss of soil calcium that acid rain depletes over time. They also show specifically how the loss of calcium negatively affects tree growth. The full findings are published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.
Image: A helicopter loaded with calcium fertilizer pellets takes off over the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (Credit: Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study)