Examination of the effects of sulphurous emissions from a coal-burning power plant on the vegetation of a mixed oak forest with white pine Pinus strobus L. and hemlock Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carr revealed that species diversity and importance values of certain species were inversely related to distance from the source of emission. Diversity and importance of white pine Pinus strobus L. and sweet birch Betula lenta L. increased with distance whereas the importance of white oak Quercus alba L. and red maple Acer rubrum L. decreased. Differences with distance were greater downwind than upwind. The data fitted hyperbolic equations using the reciprocal of distance from the emission source. Species richness and diversity were more sensitive indicators of pollution damage than growth assessments of individual overstorey species or groups of species.
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