Ground-level ozone can damage all types of green vegetation, including the foliage of trees. Ozone is absorbed by leaves and impedes plant growth.
Ozone is recognised as the most serious regional air pollution problem for the agricultural sector in Europe. It reduces crop yields by hindering plant growth.
In 2000, it was estimated that the overall ozone damage to crops corresponded to an economic loss to farmers across EU-25 of about EUR 2.8 billion.
There are marked differences in damage to crops across Europe, depending on agricultural activity, soil moisture and ozone concentration. Most affected by elevated ozone concentrations are countries that are growing wheat.
The economic or ecological cost of ozone damage to wild vegetation has not been estimated.
© Photo: Pawel Kazmierczyk/EEA, 2004