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Acid Rain: The forests are feeling it

When fish started turning belly up in lakes and streams, North America's eyes were suddenly opened to the consequences of pollution. But long after acid rain became a household word and Canada decided to take action, the United States was still hesitant to curb its share of industrial pollutants. For years Prime Minister Brian Mulroney courted a reluctant American president while Canadian activists lobbied and spread the word. Results came eventually, but it may have been too little too late.

Across Ontario and Quebec, maple syrup producers are saying that acid rain is killing their trees and their industry. The Ontario Ministry of Environment is on the trail, trying to prove conclusively that acid rain causes damage to vegetation and forestry. This is the first terrestrial study of acid rain, though reports of its suspected effects were published four years ago. In this CBC Television clip, ministry scientists and maple syrup farmers take us into the forest for show and tell.
• In 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asserted that trees themselves are a source of pollution. During his election campaign he mocked environmentalists, saying if they had their way "we'd all be living in rabbits' holes and birds' nests."

• In 1990, a Globe and Mail article explained "acid rain takes its toll of trees over a longer period of time, usually by removing important nutrients from the forest soils and interfering with the ability of trees to absorb those nutrients left behind - a deprivation expected to lead to widespread stunting in some species."
Medium: Television
Program: CBLT News
Broadcast Date: June 5, 1984
Reporter: Bill Trbovich
Duration: 2:05

Last updated: February 20, 2014

Page consulted on February 20, 2014

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