Acid Rain in the Adirondacks: An Environmental History

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Acid rain has changed the face of the Adirondacks, created political tensions between the Northeast and the Midwest, and served as both a harbinger of global climate change and a "fire drill" for public- and private-sector responses to environmental crises. The history of acid rain research is a striking case in which a large-scale and long-term environmental problem was addressed in part through scientifically motivated changes in public policy.

In the 1970s, acid rain was viewed as a simple problem that was limited in scope and characterized by "dead," fishless lakes. Scientists now have broader insights into the processes by which acid rain sets off a cascade of adverse effects in ecosystems as its components move through air, soil, vegetation, and surface waters. Written and designed to appeal to both scientists and lay readers, this book is a landmark example of scientific communication that provides a comprehensive scientific history of the phenomenon, from its discovery to the full understanding of the scope of its effects and the ultimate responses that have mitigated some of the damage to the region's lakes and forests.

This book is published in association with the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation with the support of the Wildlife Conservation Society, United States Environmental Protection Agency, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The authors of Acid Rain in the Adirondacks explain the process by which the sulfur and nitrogen oxides spewing from power plants in the Midwest make their way into northeastern ecosystems. The book reviews hundreds of studies of what this phenomenon has wrought in the Adirondacks, pointing out, for example, that as the acidity of a lake increases, the number of species of fish decreases. Acid Rain in the Adirondacks chronicles everything that can go wrong when attending to environmental problems is put off for too long, but it also offers evidence that dangers can be addressed successfully through scientific research, public awareness and government regulation."—American Scientist

"Tone provides crucial insights about gender in welfare work and about consumers as a target for welfare capitalism's publicity machine."—Contemporary Sociology

"A useful book which looks at a neglected aspect of the creation of the welfare state in progressive era America, and looks too at the dynamics within companies where the relationship between workers an employers was often far from straightforward. Readers who are concerned with how companies dealt with the pressures of demand for reform in their working practices should note this book with interest."—Business History

"This is the definitive book on an important topic; there aren't any even close competitors. And it's also the best example I've ever seen of how to communicate thoroughly and clearly about a scientific topic."—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

"Acid Rain in the Adirondacks is unique, remarkable for its authors' tone and rich graphical approach to an interesting but complex series of scientific investigations of a significant environmental problem. I cannot think of another scientific text in my field that is as richly and well illustrated as this one; the numerous graphs, diagrams, and maps are a delight. The text of the book presents a historical and progressive story as opposed to a more traditional academic review. Acid Rain in the Adirondacks will appeal to college professors, high school teachers, government professionals, and anyone who wants a readable and well-illustrated summary of Adirondack studies."—Michael L. Pace, Institute of Ecosystem Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801446511
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jerry Jenkins is a researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society and author of The Adirondack Atlas: A Geographic Portrait of the Adirondack Park.

Karen M. Roy is a Research Scientist in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Charles T. Driscoll is University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering, Syracuse University, author of Experimental Watershed Liming Study, and coauthor of Context and Case Studies of Forest Soils in the Southeastern U.S.

Christopher Buerkett is a former employee of the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation.

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