Agricultural Lakes in Finland: Current Water Quality and Trends
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Agriculture is the largest source of nutrients into surface waters in Finland, and yet relatively little is known about the actual impact of the agricultural load on the state of lakes. We analysed the water quality data of 20 Finnish agricultural lakes and found that they had higher levels of nutrients, chlorophyll a and turbidity than did the other types of lakes (e.g. those receiving point-source load) in the national monitoring network (the Finnish Eurowaternet). Currently, six of the agricultural lakes can be classified as eutrophic and 14 as hypertrophic. Trend analysis (based on Kendall's tau-b) indicated that during 1976–2002 the water quality of the lakes either remained constant or showed signs of increasing eutrophication and elevated turbidity. Decreasing nutrient concentrations were found only in one intensively restored lake. In none of the lakes had the chlorophyll a concentration decreased. The results of the trend analysis are compatible with the recent finding that, despite vigorous efforts, the nutrient load from agriculture has not declined in Finland. Recovery of the most eutrophied agricultural lakes would call for a drastic reduction in the external nutrient load, possibly supplemented with in-lake restoration.
Keywordsagriculture eutrophication lakes trend analysis water quality
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