- Soil acidification
Soil acidification is the buildup of
hydrogen cations, also called protons, in the soil. This happens when a proton donor is added to the soil. The donor can be an acid, such as nitric acidand sulfuric acid(these acids are common components of acid rain). It can also be a compound such as aluminium sulfate, which reacts in the soil to release protons. Many nitrogencompounds, which are added as fertilizer, also acidify soil over the long term because they produce the ammoniumion which is a proton donor.
Acidification also occurs when base cations such as
calcium, magnesium, potassiumand sodiumare lost from the soil. Losses occur when these bases are leached from the soil. This leaching increases with increasing precipitation. Acid rainaccelerates the leachingof bases. Plants take bases from the soil as they grow, donating a proton in exchange for each base cation. Where plant material is removed, as when a forest is logged or crops are harvested, the bases they have taken up are permanently lost from the soil.
Many plants produce organic acids. Where plant litter accumulates on or is incorporated to the soil, these acids (including
acetic acid, humic acid(see http://www.suprahumic.unina.it/), oxalic acid, and tannic acid) are liberated. This is especially acute in soils under coniferous treessuch as pine, spruceand fir, which return fewer base cations to the soil than do most deciduous trees. Certain parent materials also contribute to soil acidification. Granites and their allied igneousrocks are called "acidic" because they have a lot of free quartz, which produces silicic acidon weathering. Also, they have relatively low amounts of calcium and magnesium. Some sedimentaryrocks such as shaleand coalare rich in sulfides, which, when hydrated and oxidized, produce sulfuric acid which is much stronger than silicic acid. Many coal spoils are too acidic to support vigorous plant growth, and coal gives off strong precursors to acid rain when it is burned. Marine clays are also sulfide-rich in many cases, and such clays become very acidic if they are drained to an oxidizing state.
ome chemicals which acidify the soil
Acid sulfate soil
* [http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nrenfa.nsf/childdocs/-80E62E2EAB672EE24A256B520005A0AF-7C866D87F6E182014A256B52000B09C0?open Soil acidification]
* [http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/13802 Fenn, M. E.; Huntington, T. G.; McLaughlin, S. B.; Eagar, C.; Gomez, A.; Cook, R. B. 2006. Status of soil acidification in North America Journal of Forest Science 52:3-13.]
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