Forstwissenschaftliches Centralblatt

, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 48–61 | Cite as

Auswirkungen von regionalen Luftschadstoffen auf die Wälder in den USA

  • W. H. Smith
Article

Zusammenfassung

Regionale Luftschadstoffe bilden heutzutage eine der bedeutendsten durch den Menschen verursachte Gefährdung für Waldökosysteme der gemäßigten Zone. Die allmählich fortschreitende schleichende Veränderung' der Waldformen und Wechselwirkungen bei Schädlingen, die Veränderung des Wachstums und der Artenzusammensetzung muß als eine primäre Folge der regionalen Luftverschmutzung angesehen werden. Diese Veränderungen sind wesentlieh bedeutungsvoller als etwa die dramatischen, kurzfristigen Waldzerstörungen in unmittelbarer Nähe von Emissionsquellen.

In den USA sind Photooxidantien und Schwermetalle die wichtigsten regionalen Schadstoffe. Auch saure Depositionen gehören wegen ihrer Verteilungswirkung über lange Strecken zu den regionalen Luftschadstoffen. Zur Zeit besteht jedoch nicht die Möglichkeit, die spezifische Wirkung saurer Depositionen auf forstliche Ökosysteme darzustellen.

Die akkumulierenden Wirkungen der subtilen Gefährdungen, die langsam aber stetig die Unversehrtheit yon Ökosystemen angreifen, sind oft sehr schwer einzuschätzen. Die Gesamtauswirkung der Luftverschmutzung ist u. a. wesentlich größer als die Summe der Auswirkungen der einzelnen Schadstoffe. Dutch die sich anhäufenden und sich gegenseitig beeinflussenden Streßfaktoren ergibt sich ein geographisch breitgefächertes und bruchstückartiges Bild der ökologischen Störungen.

Die Auswirkungen der Luftverschmutzung erstrecken sich oft gleichzeitig auf viele Arten yon Ökosystemen, Habitaten und Wirtschaftsobjekten. Dos Vorstellungsvermögen von Schäden, z. B. daß Wachstumsveränderungen bei Bäumen Folgen für die Baumartenzusammensetzung haben können, wird oft dadurch erschwert, daß einfach erkennbare, schnell erfaßbare direkte Wirkungen oder Symptome fehlen.

Die menschliche Gesellschaft muß die Notwendigkeit erkennen, daß Regdungsstrategien mehr auf die subtiler warnenden Anzeichen der Waldgefährdung gerichtet werden müssen als auf akute Streßerscheinungen. Wir Menschen müssen außerdem akzeptieren, daß der derzeitige Stand der Wissenschaft keine vollständige Erklärung der Wirkungen von regionalen Luftschadstoffen auf Waldökosysteme liefern kann.

Effects of regional air pollutants on forests in the USA

Summary

Region-wide, air pollutants today are one of the most important man-made dangers for forest ecosystems of the temperate zone. Gradual subtle changes of forest cover types, interactions as far as pests are concerned, and the alteration of growth and species composition have to be considered as primary results of regional air pollution. These changes are quite more important than, for example, the dramatic short-term destructions of forests adjacent to sources of emission.

In the USA, photo-oxidants and heavy metals are the most important regional injurious agents. Acid depositions, too, belong to this category because of their spreading effects over large distances. At the present time, however, it is not possible to demonstrate the specific effects of acid depositions on forest ecosystems.

The cumulative effects of the subtle hazards, slowly but surely impairing the stability of ecosystems, are quite often very difficult to assess. The overall effects of air pollution are considerably greater than the sum of the effects of the individual injurious agents. Stress factors accumulate and interact with each other, thereby bringing about a geographically widespread and fragmentary picture of the ecological disorders.

Air pollution often simultaneously affects many types of ecosystems, habitats, and commercial objects. The ability to visualize certain types of damage - that, for example, changes in tree growth might have consequences for the species composition - is often impeded because of the lack of direct effects or symptoms that can be easily recognized and comprehended.

Society has to recognize the need to direct strategies of regulation more towards the subtle signs of warning that forests are endangered than towards acute stress symptoms. We must also accept that the present state of scientific knowledge cannot furnish a complete explanation of the effects of regional air pollutants on forest ecosystems.

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Copyright information

© Verlag Paul Parey 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. H. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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