Acid rain causes acidification of bodies of water such as lakes and streams. It can also contribute to damage to trees at high elevations and forest soils. Also, the decay of buildings is accelerated, as paint and building materials are eaten away by acid rain. Statues and monuments are susceptible to the damage done by acid rain, resulting in damage to their finish.
Acid rain is a contributing factor to the slow growth of forests. Scientists have noted this phenomenon after observing brown leaves and needles from trees that should be green and healthy. In more extreme cases, entire portions of forests have died off with no apparent explanation. After years of research, it has been determined that acid rain is the cause for these conditions observed in higher elevation forests in the United States. Areas such as the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia have been affected by acid rain. Specifically, the Great Smoky Mountain and Shenandoah National Parks have been greatly impacted.
Acid rain does not immediately kill trees. It will likely damage the tree by weakening its leaves and harming the tree's capacity for absorbing nutrients.
Acid rain is not the only cause for these conditions. However, when combined with factors such as pollutants, insects, disease and drought, acid rain contributes to stressing these certain conditions.