The operational definition of the “critical” load for wet SO4 deposition is that which does not increase the regional percent of lakes having pH≤6 for the portion of the population that historically had pH>6. Reviews of the effects of acidic deposition on aquatic biota show that the pH=6 threshold used to determine the critical load is sufficient to protect most organisms. It is inappropriate to specify a single critical load for the whole of eastern Canada due to variability in terrain sensitivity. The Atlantic provinces and easterr Quebec generally have very low critical loads (<8 kg. ha−1.yr−1). The terrain characteristics of this area dictate a critical load very close to background deposition. Lakes in southwestern Quebec and Ontario have critical loads of <8 to >20 kg.ha−1.yr−1 reflecting the wide range in terrain sensitivities that exist in each province.

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