Time horizon dependent characterization factors for acidification in life-cycle assessment based on forest plant species occurrence in Europe

R. van Zelm, M.J.A. Huijbregts, H.A. van Jaarsveld, G.J. Reinds, D. de Zwart, J. Struijs, D. van de Meent

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    51 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper describes a new approach in life-cycle impact assessment to derive characterization factors for acidification in European forests. Time horizon dependent characterization factors for acidification were calculated, whereas before only steady-state factors were available. The characterization factors indicate the change in the potential occurrence of plant species due to a change in emission, and they consist of a fate and an effect factor. The fate factor combines the results of an atmospheric deposition model and a dynamic soil acidification model. The change in base saturation in soil due to an atmospheric emission change was derived for 20, 50, 100, and 500 year time horizons. The effect factor was based on a dose-response curve of the potential occurrence of plant species, derived from multiple regression equations per plant species. The results showed that characterization factors for acidification increase up to a factor of 13 from a 20 years to a 500 years time horizon. Characterization factors for ammonia are 4.0-4.3 times greater than those for nitrogen oxides (NOx), and characterization factors for sulfur dioxide are 1.4-2.0 times greater than those for NOx. Aggregation of damage due to acidification with other impact categories on the European scale becomes feasible with the applied approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)922-927
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Volume41
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Keywords

    • terrestrial ecosystems
    • impact assessment
    • acid deposition
    • pollutants
    • soil
    • transport

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