, Volume 78, Issue 1-2, pp 1-36

Assessment of soil acidification effects on forest growth in Sweden

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The results of mapping critical loads, areas where they have been exceeded and steady state (Ca+Mg+K)/Al ratios of soils in Sweden, has been used to assess the order of magnitude of the ecological and economic risks involved with acid deposition for Swedish forests. The results of the calculations indicate that 81% of the Swedish forested area receive acid deposition in excess of the critical load at present. Under continued deposition at 1990 level, forest die-back is predicted to occur on approximately 1% of the forested area, and significant growth rate reductions are predicted for 80% of the Swedish forested area. For Sweden, growth losses in the order of 17.5 million m−3 yr−1 is predicted, equivalent to approximately 19% of current growth. Comparable losses can be predicted for other Nordic countries. The soil acidification situation is predicted to deteriorate significantly during the next 5–15 years, unless rapid emission reductions can be achieved. A minimum deposition reduction over Sweden of 85% on sulphur deposition and 30% on the N deposition in relation to 1990 level is required in order to protect 95% of the Swedish forest ecosystems from adverse effects of acidification. A minimum reduction of 60% on sulphur deposition and 30% on the N deposition is required to keep forest harvest at planned levels.