Acid rain defines as any amount of precipitation that has a certain level of toxic metals or chemicals. Although acid rain may be caused by volcanic gas, acid rain is also caused by the release of sulfur and nitrogen dioxide from the production of fossil fuels.

When these particles release into the air, they can accumulate in wet areas and include in the rain cycle. Acid rain is an increasing problem in America and Europe, causing government agencies to instill laws and programs to counter the negative effects of acid rain.

acid rain effects on plants

Reduced pH level in the water

Acid rain may make the water in the lakes and streams more acidic and lead away toxic amounts of aluminum to the water system.

Many aquatic animals cannot grow in a low pH environment. The death of aquatic animals causes that other animal in the habitat to lack food, which deprives the ecosystem of equilibrium.

Damage to forests and plants

Acid rain effects on plants can destroy the leaves of trees and plants, limiting their growth and exposing them to metals in the air from toxic rain. Depending on the degree of damage, vegetation may be inhibited in its growth or the leaves may be removed. Damage can also destroy the plant’s ability to cope with cold or disease.

Acid rain effects on plants

Soil poisoning

When acid rain absorbs into the soil, the soil becomes more acidic, which dissolves the helpful minerals in the soil. Acid rain also releases toxic substances into the soil, such as aluminum, and poison vegetation. The effect of these injuries decreases under certain conditions, such as having a thick layer of soil and having certain types of underground rock underneath to absorb rain.

Damage to the bodily functions

When fish are exposed to acid rain, disturbing levels of minerals in fish will affect their reproductive system, and females will not release eggs. When some fish are in the water with a very acidic pH, the mucus on their gills will become very sticky and eventually clog together, making them unable to get oxygen from the water.

Acid rain effects on plants

Case study

In the Netherlands, a study was conducted on the exact impact of acid rain on a given habitat. They noticed that acid rain leached calcium from the soil.

It was the main source of calcium for snails in this environment. Soon, the snails became extinct, which was the main source of calcium for birds in this habitat. Birds had to look for calcium in other sources, such as insects. The birds were unable to receive a significant amount of calcium and began to lay defective eggs