Title

Air quality in natural areas: Interface between the public, science and regulation

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2007

Abstract

Natural areas are important interfaces between air quality, the public, science and regulation. In the United States and Canada, national parks received over 315 million visits during 2004. Many natural areas have been experiencing decreased visibility, increased ozone (O3) levels and elevated nitrogen deposition. Ozone is the most pervasive air pollutant in North American natural areas. There is an extensive scientific literature on O3 exposure-tree response in chambered environments and, lately, free-air exposure systems. Yet, less is known about O3 impacts on natural terrestrial ecosystems. To advance scientifically defensible O3 risk assessment for natural forest areas, species-level measurement endpoints must be socially, economically and ecologically relevant. Exposure-based indices, based on appropriate final endpoints, present an underused opportunity to meet this need. Exposure-plant indices should have a high degree of statistical significance, have high goodness of fit, be biologically plausible and include confidence intervals to define uncertainty. They must be supported by exposure-response functions and be easy to use within an air quality regulation context. Ozone exposure-response indices developed within an ambient air context have great potential for improving risk assessment in natural forest areas and enhancing scientific literacy. Crown Copyright © 2007.

Publication Title

Environmental Pollution

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