Air pollution and global change: A double challenge to forest ecosystems

Document Type


Publication Date



The world's forests provide a host of wood products, and non-wood resources, and they are critically important in conserving plant, animal, insect and microbial diversity, maintaining soil and water resources, and providing opportunities for employment and recreation. Only recently have we started to value forests for their ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The rapidly changing atmospheric environment with its mix of increasing anthropogenic emissions means that the future world's forests will be faced with unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and rising temperatures due to the trapping of radiative heating by the greenhouse gases. In addition, large expanses of these ecosystems will be concurrently exposed to elevated levels of tropospheric ozone, particulates, nitrogen oxides, and acidic rainfall or other air pollutants. Finally, increasing demand for forest products and expanding development pressures from our rapidly growing world population will mean continued land use change and forest habitat loss. Thus, it is very difficult to predict the condition or productivity of forests in this century. In this book, a number of forest and atmospheric scientists summarize what is known on the impacts of air pollution and climate change on forest ecosystems. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Developments in Environmental Science