USDA Forest Service

Strategic Planning and Resource Assessment


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Strategic Planning
and Resource Assessment

RP-E Rm 602
P.O. Box 96090    
Washington, D.C. 20090-6090



United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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Forest Service 2003 Success Stories

Success Stories: Passive Samplers Allow Evaluating Air Pollution Distribution in Remote Mountain Areas

Air pollution poses a risk to mountain forests, especially sensitive ecosystems such as the Class I Wilderness Areas. Commercially available passive samplers and those developed by the Forest Service scientists help to evaluate ozone, nitric acid, ammonia, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric oxide distribution in complex mountain terrain of the Sierra Nevada and Sequoia National Park; San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gorgonio Wilderness; and the Central European Carpathian Mountains of Poland and Romania, including Retezat and Tatra National Parks.

Results of this research allowed for understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of phytotoxic air pollutants (ozone and nitric acid) and the pollutants responsible for increasing the deposition of nitrogen to sensitive ecosystems. This is of high importance for scientists trying to understand effects of air pollution on forests and other ecosystems. It also helps research and forest managers to understand trends in regional forest health changes, nutrient pools, and changes in biodiversity. Our results help in science-based decision making regarding permits for new emission sources; planning and managing of prescribed fires; setting air quality state and federal standards.

Scientists of the Pacific Southwest (PSW) and Rocky Mountain Research (RMRS) Stations, Central European research institutes, national parks and universities; National Forest System managers; and the software developers of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (makers of Arc/Info GIS Software), were involved in the described work.


  • Figure 1 - Map showing the location of passive monitors in the Sierra Nevada during the 1999 summer study.
  • Figure 2 - Picture showing passive samplers for ozone and nitric acid deployed in the Inyo National Forest in summer 2002.
  • Figure 3 - Map presenting the distribution of ozone concentrations in the Sierra Nevada during September 1-15, 1999 period.


USDA Forest Service - Strategic Planning and Resource Assessment
Last Modified: Monday, 16 December 2013 at 14:19:04 CST

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