| EN

Calculating critical loads for acidification for five forested catchments in China using an extended steady state function

The critical load concept has become widely accepted as an important theoretical basis for establishing effective acid deposition control strategies. In the critical load calculations, the influence of variation in base cation (BC) deposition, which plays an important role in mitigating acidification, was seldom considered. In this manner, high uncertainty and over-estimation might be caused in those areas where current BC deposition is very high and of significant anthropogenic origin since anthropogenic deposition can change due to human activity. In this study, an extended sulfur (S)–nitrogen (N)–BC function based on the Steady State Mass Balance (SSMB) method is applied to calculate the critical loads for five sampled catchments in southern China under variable S, N, and BC deposition. The ceiling of S deposition (when N deposition is zero; CLmax(S)) under current BC deposition varies from 4.5 to 10.8 keq ha−1 yr−1 among the five catchments, and the ceiling of N deposition (when S deposition is zero; CLmax(N)) varies from 23.2 to 54.5 keq ha−1 yr−1. A 75% reduction in BC deposition is estimated to cause a 46%–86% decrease of CLmax(S) and 45%–81% decrease of CLmax(N). The critical loads for acidification are not exceeded in any of the five catchments under the current base cation deposition, despite extremely high S deposition in some places. However, if the BC deposition decreases to 25% of current while S remains unchanged, critical loads will be exceeded at all sites except one. A sensitivity analysis confirms that the long-term future BC deposition is among the most important parameters to the uncertainty of critical load, together with the dose–response relationship between ecosystem health and soil solution chemistry.


Publisher's version

Copyright 南京大学赵瑜教授研究组