Modeling Acidification Recovery on Threatened Ecosystems: Application to the Evaluation of the Gothenburg Protocol in France

  • David Moncoulon
  • Anne Probst
  • Liisa Martinson

To evaluate the acid deposition reduction negotiated for 2010 within the UNECE LRTAP Gothenburg Protocol, sulphur and nitrogen deposition timeseries (1880–2100) were compared to critical loads of acidity on five French ecosystems: Massif Central basalt (site 1) and granite (2); Paris Bassin tertiary sands (3); Vosges mountains sandstone (4) and Landes eolian sands (5). The SAFE model was used to estimate the response of soil solution pH and [Al]/[BC] ratio to the deposition scenario. Among the five sites, critical loads were exceeded in the past at sites 3, 4 and 5. Sites 3 and 4 were still expected to exceed in 2010, the Protocol year. Further reduction of atmospheric deposition, mainly nitrogen, would be needed to achieve recovery on these ecosystems. At sites 3, 4 and 5, the delay between the critical load exceedance and the violation of the critical chemical criterion was estimated to be 10 to 30 years in the top soil and 50 to 90 years in the deeper soil. At site 5, a recovery was expected in the top soil in 2010 with a time lag of 10 years. Unexpectedly, soil pH continued to decrease after 1980 in the deeper soil at sites 2 and 5. This time lag indicated that acidification moved down the soil profile as a consequence of slow base cation depletion by ion exchange. This delayed response of the soil solution was the result of the combination of weathering rates and vegetation uptake but also of the relative ratio between base cation deposition and acid compounds.


acidification atmospheric deposition France recovery SAFE model 


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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Moncoulon
    • 1
  • Anne Probst
    • 1
    • 3
  • Liisa Martinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire des Mécanismes de Transfert en GéologieUMR 5563, CNRS-IRD-Université Paul SabatierToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Lund University Centre for Sustainability StudiesLundSweden
  3. 3.ECOLAB UMR 5245CNRS-INPT-Université Paul SabatierCastanet, Tolosan, CedexFrance

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