Project at a Glance

Title: Crop loss from air pollutants and injury to forest trees assessment program: status report

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Thompson, C. Ray

Contractor: Statewide Air Pollution Research Center, University of California, Riverside

Contract Number: A833-138

Research Program Area: Ecosystem & Multimedia Effects

Topic Areas: Agriculture, Ecosystem Impacts


The Statewide Air Pollution Research Center (SAPRC) at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) has a continuing mission to investigate the effects of air pollutants on vegetation, especially agricultural crops and forests, and to determine the losses in productivity caused by these pollutants. To further this mission, we have continued the Vegetation Loss Assessment Program to evaluate air pollutant damage to plant productivity based on modeling and field observations. This research provides information to be used by the Air Resources Board in assessing potential impacts to vegetation posed by different ozone air quality standards, and is a planning tool for guiding future research, especially in terms of forest response to ozone.

The overall project was initiated in early 1985. Phase I in 1985 focussed on the establishment of comprehensive computer data bases relevant to air pollutant, dose-respoarse data for important California crop species, a critical review of key plant studies, and sponsorship of a workshop to assess current data and address informational needs. Phase II in 1986 and 1987 focussed on preparation of a detailed crop loss assessment based on 1984 data and refined crop loss assessments with local agricultural input. Phase III began in 1987 and is continuing. It emphasized development of procedures and models for assessing losses to forests by focusing on key tree species, the further refinement of crop loss models, the implementation of a field verification program to assess the extent of ozone related injuries to crops at different locations in the state, and the dissemination of information on vegetation losses from air pollutants to the public, government agencies, and scientific community.

Specific tasks for the 1988-89 were to:

1. Critically evaluate the current status of air pollution effects on California vegetation;
2. Review the reports in the literature on tree and crop responses to air pollution and the predictive models for projecting potential vegetative loss;
3. assess the extent of injury to selected crops at different field locations; and
4. Disseminate information on vegetation losses due to air pollution.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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