Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: Focus

, Volume 7, Issue 1–3, pp 347–356 | Cite as

Recovery of Acidified Streams in Forests Treated by Total Catchment Liming

  • Olle Westling
  • Therese Zetterberg


Reduced emissions of acidifying pollutants have changed the acidification process, and as a result, forest soils and surface waters are slowly recovering in Sweden. However, model calculations show that some areas may never recover completely unless further measures, such as liming, are undertaken. Liming of surface waters (lakes, rivers and wetlands) has been successfully practised in Sweden since the 1970s, but repeated treatments are necessary. A full recovery of acidified lakes and streams without frequent liming is however not possible until soil acidification is reversed in the most strongly affected areas. In this study, the recovery of acidified streams was examined using ‘the total catchment approach’ i.e. treatment of both recharge and discharge areas. The aim was to compare the quantitative effect of different treatments on run off chemistry and the recovery of brown trout. Catchments in southwest Sweden were treated with a combination of 2 tons of wood ash and 4, 6 or 12 tons of crushed limestone per hectare in 1998/1999. Treatment of both recharge and discharge areas resulted in fast and significant changes in stream water quality, e.g. increased concentrations of calcium, higher pH and ANC and a decreased concentration of inorganic aluminium. The initial changes were dependent on the distribution of the applied lime between discharge and recharge areas rather than the average dose on the total catchment. Treatment of recharge areas only, resulted in smaller but still significant effects on calcium, pH and ANC in stream water. Furthermore, there was an initial leaching of nitrate but it was only minor compared with the elevated leaching that occurs after a clear-cut. As a result of the treatments, brown trout is now successfully reproducing.


acidification ANC brown trout catchment discharge forest soil inorganic Al limestone wetland wood ash 



This project started as an EU-Life financed project with the Regional Board of Forestry in South Götaland, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the National Board of Forestry in Sweden and the County Administration Board of Halland as co-partners. The project was officially terminated in June 2001 but has been carried on by means from the National Board of Forestry and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IVL Swedish Environmental Research InstituteGothenburgSweden

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