Abstract In this paper, a nonlinear mathematical model is proposed and analyzed to study the formation of acid rain in the atmosphere because of precipitation and its effect on plant species. It is considered that acid-forming gases such as SO2, NO2 emitted from various sources combine with water droplets (moisture) during precipitation and form acid rain affecting plant species. It is assumed that the biomass density of plant species follows a logistic model and its growth rate decreases with increase in the concentration of acid rain. The model is analyzed by using stability theory of differential equations and numerical simulation. The model analysis shows that as the concentration of acid rain increases because of increase in the cumulative emission rates of acid forming gases, the biomass density of plant species decreases. It is noted that if the amount of acid formed becomes very large, the plant species may become extinct.