Research on the effect of sulfuric and nitric acids, as well as other substances, in rain on plant growth has focused on quantifying the relationship between doses of acids in precipitation and plant response. After eight years, there has been no direct demonstration of harmful effects to plants by ambient acidic rain in North America, and there remains considerable uncertainty about the potential risk to cultivated and native plants. Current efforts to describe the relationships between dose of acidity and effects on plants need better experimental approaches if the results are to be more relevant to actual field situations. Mechanistic models that describe the physiological and biochemical basis for effects of acidic rain on plants will be needed to provide confidence in the predictions of plant response. 34 references, 1 figure.