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Acidification of remote mountain lakes


The objective is to compare the effects of air pollution in remote mountain lakes in the Alpine mountains with those of other susceptible mountain areas in Scandinavia, Scotland and the Pyrenees, in order to: identify critical sulphur and nitrogen loads; recommend target loads for susceptible lake ecosystems; explore the possibility of their use as early indicators of changes in atmospheric loads; and to develop integrated management strategies for susceptible aquatic ecosystems in Europe.
Some of the most interesting conclusions from the discussion of the results concern the similarities of sites in these various mountain regions of Europe. Similarities are apparent at all levels, in water chemistry, paleolimnology, invertebrates and fish. This reflects a similar response of the biological communities to a common physico-chemical environment in these remote areas, and is of high importance for the programme with regard to future work in the follow-up project 'AL:PE 2'.

An important achievement of the AL:PE project has been the standardization of working methods and the establishment of intercalibration procedures during this cooperative research, as well as the exchange of expertise between research groups. This secures the quality of data across the programme and allows robust comparability of results at a European level.

The results confirm that acidification is a widespread problem in Europe, and that acidification processes are not restricted to lakes and rivers close to densely populated areas, where short-range impacts from local activities may be expected. The findings demonstrate that remote mountain areas are affected by acid deposition through long-range transported air pollution.
This project represents an extension of an ongoing project on acidification processes in Alpine lakes (contracts EV4V-0113 and EV4V-0114) on the geographical scale towards the investigation of Scandinavian, Scottish and Pyreneen mountain lakes. It intends to improve the knowledge about the amounts and quality of atmospheric inputs into the various mountain areas and will investigate important catchment and in lake processes, covering water chemistry, fish, invertebrate and epilithic diatom communities status, sediment core analyses and other paleolimnological approaches.

The project will investigate field sites in Norway, Scotland, the Italian, Swiss, Austrian and French Alps and the French part of the Pyrenees.


Birkbeck College, University of London
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
WC1E 7HX London
United Kingdom

Participants (6)

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
Place Du Docteur Peyneau
33120 Arcachon
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma
19,Brekkeveien 19
0411 Oslo
Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano Regione Alto Adige
Via Mendola 24
39100 Bolzano
University of Bergen

5007 Bergen
Université de Savoie
Campus Scientifique
73376 Le Bourget-du-lac