This chapter outlines the cause-effect pathway of terrestrial and aquatic acidification from air emissions to ecosystem damage. Carbon dioxide is the main cause of (coastal) marine acidification, while nitrogen and sulfur inputs are underlying the damage due to freshwater and terrestrial acidification. Various life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods address parts of the impact pathway. Terrestrial acidification, caused by base cation leaching, has been addressed by a number of midpoint methods and several methods determining impacts to biodiversity. To decrease uncertainty in the ecological effect predictions, more insight needs to be gained in the stressor-response curves for many regions of the world. Moreover, research is needed regarding other indicators related to biodiversity than relative species richness as such. For freshwater acidification, only one midpoint and one endpoint method are available, with substantial options for improvement. To address ocean acidification in LCIA in the future, a carbon cycle model needs to be used to make the link to ocean acidification and stressor-response curves that assess impacts on marine biodiversity.

van Zelm R., Roy P.-O., Hauschild M. Z. & Huijbregts M. A. J., 2015. Acidification. In Hauschild M. Z. & Huijbregts M. A. J. (Eds.), LCA Compendium – The Complete World of Life Cycle Assessment, 163-176. Book chapter (subscription required).


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