Add lime or similar chemicals: brackish/salt marshes
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Wetlands can become acidified through processes such as:
- deposition of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from the air. These originate from a range of man-made sources, e.g. transport exhausts and gas flaring on oil wells (Uyigue & Agho 2007).
- exposure of acid sulfate soils to oxygen, for example through drought, drainage or dredging. These soils are present in coastal wetlands such as mangroves (Dent 1986) and salinized inland areas (Baldwin 2011).
- inflows of acidic waste water from mining operations, for example in the Odiel Marshes, southwest Spain (Davila et al. 2019). This is formed when metal sulfide minerals, exposed during mining, react with oxygen.
Acidity can be reduced with calcium and/or magnesium-rich substances, such as lime CaO or Ca(OH)2, limestone CaCO3, magnesium oxide MgO, fly ash (residue from burning coal) or biochar (a type of charcoal). Adding these chemicals can also affect nutrient availability, because nutrients such as phosphorous become locked away in acidic soils or sediments (Weil & Brady 2016).
Neutralizing chemicals might be added directly to a focal site, added to an adjacent water body, or applied elsewhere in the watershed (which may reduce negative impacts on water quality associated with direct addition; Dorland et al. 2005).
Related actions: Clean waste water before it enters the environment, including diversion of acidified water into designated treatment wetlands; Add lime or similar chemicals to complement planting.
Baldwin D. (2011) National Guidance for the Management of Acid Sulfate Soils in Inland Aquatic Ecosystems, Environment Protection and Heritage Council and the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, Australia.
Davila J.M., Sarmiento A.M., Santisteban M., Luís A.T., Fortes J.C., Diaz-Curiel J., Valbuena C. & Grande J.A. (2019) The UNESCO national biosphere reserve (Marismas del Odiel, SW Spain): an area of 18,875 ha affected by mining waste. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 26, 33594–33606.
Dent D.L. (1986) Acid Sulphate Soils: A Baseline for Research and Development. ILRI Publication 39.
Dorland E., van den Berg L.J.L., Brouwer E., Roelofs J.G.M. & Bobbink R. (2005) Catchment liming to restore degraded, acidified heathlands and moorland pools. Restoration Ecology, 13, 302–311.
Uyigue E. & Agho M. (2007) Coping with Climate Change and Environmental Degradation in the Niger Delta of Southern Nigeria. Community Research and Development Centre Nigeria (CREDC).
Weil R.R. & Brady N.C. (2016) The Nature and Properties of Soils, Fifteenth Edition. Pearson, USA.