Soil Reaction and Acidic Deposition

  • John O. Reuss
  • Paul Mark Walthall
Part of the Advances in Environmental Science book series (ENVIRON.SCIENCE, volume 4)


This chapter discusses the major chemical processes by which acidic deposition interacts with soils. The focus is on forest soils, as the effects of acidic deposition on soils used for production of food and fiber are generally small compared to effects of agricultural practices such as nitrogen fertilizer applications and liming.

Buffering mechanisms considered include aluminum buffering, silicate mineral buffering, cation exchange, organic buffering, and the effect of anion immobilization processes such as nitrate uptake and sulfate adsorption. The effects of acidic inputs on capacity factors such as exchange acidity, exchangeable base content, and sulfate adsorption capacity are considered, as are related natural processes such as acidification due to accumulation of bases in biomass. Particular attention is paid to intensity effects, such as the effect of increased concentration of anions associated with strong acids on the chemical composition of the soil solution, as they are likely to be highly nonlinear with respect to the capacity factors. These include pH, aluminum mobilization, and loss of alkalinity in the soil solution, which in turn may result in acidification of drainage waters.

Due to the variety and complexity of processes, results of field and laboratory experiments are likely to be highly variable. A few examples are discussed in relation to the mechanisms that appear to be controlling the response in each case.


Soil Solution Cation Exchange Capacity Drainage Water Base Cation Exchange Acidity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John O. Reuss
    • 1
  • Paul Mark Walthall
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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