The majority of people think about teeth and bones when they hear about calcium. However, this is something that the trees need in order to grow. According to the latest studies, calcium can help reverse the effects of acid rain on forests.
It is a well-known fact that acid rain is bad for the forests. The study proves that exposure to acid rain decreases the calcium levels of the soil which, in turn, affects the growth of trees. The researchers studied data gathered over 15 years and reached conclusions that can change the way green living is perceived at the moment.
The study shows that the calcium levels are directly linked to tree growth. The results show that the areas that received calcium produced 11% more leaves and 21% more trees than the untreated regions. It is interesting to know that sugar maples seemed to be the most responsive to the treatment.
Acid rain is produced in the moment when nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide react with the water found in the air. The regions with naturally acidic soils respond very fast to the presence of acid rain.
Clean Air Act
This act limited the exposure to acid rain. Nonetheless we might say that it is too little too late because large areas have already been affected by acid rain. As part of the Hubbard Brook study, a helicopter spread over 40 tons of calcium over 29 acres of forest land. The researchers say that this was not fertilization; they just tried to make up for the nutrients that the soil was stripped of.
The specialists noticed that the regions that were treated with calcium managed to recover faster from natural disasters, such as an ice storm, than the regions that weren’t treated.
Although the study has been conducted in the U.S., it is important to note that the situation is similar in Canada and Europe as well. Although calcium seems to be working like magic, we have to add that it’s not worth to treat large areas. Instead, people should be focusing on watersheds.
As we all know, prevention is more important than treatment. It is a proven fact that acid rain affects the forests negatively and this might determine the governments to take steps towards their improvement, especially because of the economic impacts that the lack of forests can bring.