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Airborne nutrients for forests.

The dry deposition of airborne particles and vapors provides a large fraction of the nutrient needs of trees in a hardwood forest in the eastern United States, say a group of researchers at the Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory in the Jan. 10 SCIENCE. Atmospheric deposition supplies more than 100 percent of sulfur requirements and about 40 percent of nitrogen and calcium requirements for annual tree growth.

"If these proportions are raised because of increased industrial and automotive emissions," the researchers say, "forests may satisfy increasing portions of their nutrient requirements by assimilation of airborne material, while simultaenously being exposed to increasing levels of air pollutants." The effects of excess sulfur, nitrogen and trace metal deposition may already be visible in the observed decline of high-elevation forests (SN: 4/13/85, p. 228).
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 25, 1986
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