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Critical loads as a policy tool for protecting ecosystems from the effects of air pollutantsAuthor(s): Douglas A. Burns; Tamara Blett; Richard Haeuber; Linda H. Pardo
Source: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6(3): 156-159.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
PDF: View PDF (222.25 KB)
DescriptionFraming the effects of air pollutants on ecosystems in terms of a "critical load" provides a meaningful approach for research scientists to communicate policy-relevant science to air-quality policy makers and natural resource managers. A critical-loads approach has been widely used to shape air-pollutant control policy in Europe since the 1980s, yet has only rarely been applied in the US. Recently, however, interest in applying a critical-loads approach to managing sulfur and nitrogen air pollutants in the US has been growing, as evidenced by several recent conferences, a new critical-loads sub-committee within the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, and nascent efforts by several federal agencies to apply critical loads to land management. Here, we describe the critical-loads concept, including some of its limitations, and indicate how critical loads can better inform future air-pollutant control policy in the US.
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CitationBurns, Douglas A.; Blett, Tamara; Haeuber, Richard; Pardo, Linda H. 2008. Critical loads as a policy tool for protecting ecosystems from the effects of air pollutants. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6(3): 156-159.
- Setting limits: Using air pollution thresholds to protect and restore U.S
- Deposition, Chapter 3
- Introduction, Chapter 1
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