Soil acidification is a process in which the pH of the soil decreases due to an increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in the soil. This phenomenon can be caused by several reasons, including air pollution, intensive use of chemical fertilizers, use of acidic groundwater for irrigation.
This acidification is one of the main causes of soil degradation; leads to a reduction of the pH value, loss of nutrient content and consequently leads to a decrease in crop yield and deforestation. It is a slow natural process that can be significantly accelerated by particular agricultural practices such as the abuse of chemical fertilizers or acid rain due to air contamination.
Soil acidification can have negative effects on plants, as uptake of essential nutrients by roots can be impaired.
Some nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus become less available to plants at low pH, while toxic elements such as aluminum can become more available and harmful to plant roots.
Soil acidification can also negatively affect soil biodiversity, as some soil organisms are more sensitive to pH changes than others. For example, some beneficial bacteria in the soil may be reduced, while harmful microorganisms may thrive.
To address soil acidification, some remedial measures can be taken, such as adding limescale to raise soil pH, reducing the use of chemical fertilizers, and adopting sustainable soil management practices. Furthermore, it is important to promote awareness of soil acidification and to encourage agricultural and soil management practices that help prevent or mitigate this problem.