Ecological effects of acid deposition upon peatlands - a neglected field in acid rain research

Eville Gorham, Suzanne E. Bayley, David W. Schindler

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Certain types of peatlands are probably highly susceptible to anthropogenic acidification, yet very little research is being done on the vulnerability of bogs and fens to acid deposition. We have documented the need for such research and for studies of the role of acidification — natural and anthropogenic — in determining nutrient availability, metal mobilization, and biogeochemical cycling by fauna and microflora. Possible effects of hydrological changes, and of drainage from acid peatlands to lakes and streams, are noted. We provide an outline of possible responses of plants and animals to acidification; these should be investigated at species, community, and ecosystem levels. Studies of peatlands as possible sources of the gaseous precursors of acid deposition are needed. Different approaches to examining the responses of peatlands to acid deposition include geographical surveys, experimental studies, short-term, long-term, and paleoecological investigations, and analysis of biogeochemical mass-balances. Finally, we emphasize the need for inclusive studies of peatlands in relation to surrounding uplands and to the streams and lakes that receive their drainage.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1256-1268
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1984


  • Atmospheric chemical inputs, including acid rain, to oligotrophic ecosystems, especially bogs & lakes

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