Acid Rain Essay

1324 Words 6 Pages
Register to read the introduction… Trees derive their nutrition primarily from element ions such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which have dissolved from rocks into the soil. Acid deposition adds hydrogen ions, which displace these important nutrients in a process called leaching. Leaching means that the ions are washed deeper into the subsoil or washed out of the top soil. If ions are leached from the soil, they are no longer available to the roots of the plants. Calcium ion is used in the cells of a tree for cell formation and in the processes that transport sugars, water, and other nutrients from the roots to the leaves. Magnesium ion is a vital element in photosynthesis and as a carrier of phosphorus which is important in the production of DNA. These ions may be unavailable to the tree roots because they have been leached away. As a result, animals will lose their food source. High acid levels in the soil help accelerate soil weathering and remove nutrients. It also makes some toxic elements, for example aluminum, more soluble. High aluminum concentrations in soil can prevent the use of nutrients by plants. Acid rain does not kill trees immediately or directly. Instead, it is more likely to weaken the tree by destroying its leaves, thus limiting the nutrients available to it. In other words, acid rain can seep into the ground, poisoning the trees with toxic substances that are slowly being absorbed through the roots. When acid rain falls, the acidic rainwater dissolves the nutrients and helpful minerals from the soil. These minerals are then washed away before trees and other plants can use them to grow. Not only does acid rain strip away the nutrients from the plants, they help release toxic substance such as aluminum into the soil. This occurs because these metals are bound to the soil under normal conditions, but the additional dissolving action of hydrogen ions causes rocks and small bound soil particles to break down. When

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