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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ecological Issues Related to Ozone: Agricultural Issues

Authors
item Fuhrer, J - SWISS FED. RES. STAT. AGR
item Booker, Fitzgerald

Submitted to: Environment International
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 9, 2002
Publication Date: June 1, 2003
Citation: Fuhrer, J., Booker, F.L. 2003. Ecological issues related to ozone: agricultural issues. Environment International 29:141-154.

Interpretive Summary: Research on the effects of air pollutant ozone on agricultural crops and agro-ecosystems is needed for the development of air quality standards, to support practical recommendations aiming to increase the sustainability of agricultural land management in a changing environment, and to secure food supply in regions with rapidly growing populations. Major limitations in current knowledge exist in several areas: (1) Models of ozone deposition that can be linked to large-scale weather models; (2) Processes involved in the initial reactions of ozone after entry into leaves through the stomata, and identification of toxic molecules and their role in detoxification; (3) Linkage of effects from the level of individual cells to the whole-plant; and (4) Implications of long-term ozone effects on community and whole-ecosystem level processes, with an emphasis on crop quality, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration, and biodiversity of pastures and rangelands. In order to be effective in a policy, or technological context, results from future research must be funnelled into an appropriate knowledge transfer scheme so that scientifically-sound information reaches the appropriate regulatory body. At the research level, interactions must be considered between the effects of ozone and factors that are either directly manipulated by man through crop management, or indirectly changed. The latter include elevated atmospheric CO2, particulate matter, other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, UV-B radiation, climate and associated soil moisture conditions.

Technical Abstract: Research on the effects of ozone on agricultural crops and agro-ecosystems is needed for the development of regional emission reduction strategies, to underpin practical recommendations aiming to increase the sustainability of agricultural land management in a changing environment, and to secure food supply in regions with rapidly growing populations. Major limitations in current knowledge exist in several areas: (1) Modelling of ozone transfer and specifically stomatal ozone uptake under variable environmental conditions, using robust and well-validated dynamic models that can be linked to large-scale photochemical models lack coverage. (2) Processes involved in the initial reactions of ozone with extracellular and cellular components after entry through the stomata, and identification of key chemical species and their role in detoxification require additional study. (3) Scaling the effects from the level of individual cells to the whole-plant requires, for instance, a better understanding of the effects of ozone on carbon transport within the plant. (4) Implications of long-term ozone effects on community and whole-ecosystem level processes, with an emphasis on crop quality, element cycling and carbon sequestration, and biodiversity of pastures and rangelands require renewed efforts. The UNECE Convention on Long Range Trans-boundary Air Pollution shows, for example, that policy decisions may require the use of integrated assessment models. These models depend on quantitative exposure'response information to link quantitative effects at each level of organization to an effective ozone dose (i.e., the balance between the rate of ozone uptake by the foliage and the rate of ozone detoxification). In order to be effective in a policy, or technological context, results from future research must be funnelled into an appropriate knowledge transfer scheme. This requires data synthesis, up-scaling, and spatial aggregation. At the research level, interactions must be considered between the effects of ozone and factors that are either directly manipulated by man through crop management, or indirectly changed. The latter include elevated atmospheric CO2, particulate matter, other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, UV-B radiation, climate and associated soil moisture conditions.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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