AMBIO

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 218–233 | Cite as

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Carbon, and Suspended Solids Loads from Forest Clear-Cutting and Site Preparation: Long-Term Paired Catchment Studies from Eastern Finland

  • Marjo Palviainen
  • Leena Finér
  • Ari Laurén
  • Samuli Launiainen
  • Sirpa Piirainen
  • Tuija Mattsson
  • Mike Starr
Report

Abstract

The long-term impacts of current forest management methods on surface water quality in Fennoscandia are largely unexplored. We studied the long-term effects of clear-cutting and site preparation on runoff and the export of total nitrogen (total N), total organic nitrogen (TON), ammonium (NH4-N), nitrate (NO3-N), total phosphorus (total P), phosphate (PO4-P), total organic carbon, and suspended solids (SS) in three paired-catchments in Eastern Finland. Clear-cutting and soil preparation were carried out on 34 % (C34), 11 % (C11), and 8 % (C8) of the area of the treated catchments and wide buffer zones were left along the streams. Clear-cutting and soil preparation increased annual runoff and total N, TON, NO3-N, PO4-P, and SS loads, except for SS, only in C34. Runoff increased by 16 % and the annual exports of total N, TON, NO3-N, and PO4-P by 18, 12, 270, and 12 %, respectively, during the 14-year period after clear-cutting. SS export increased by 291 % in C34, 134 % in C11, and 16 % in C8 during the 14, 6, and 11-year periods after clear-cutting. In the C11 catchment, NO3-N export decreased by 12 %. The results indicate that while current forest management practices can increase the export of N, P and SS from boreal catchments for many years (>10 years), the increases are only significant when the area of clear cutting exceeds 30 % of catchment area.

Keywords

Catchment Final cutting Leaching Soil preparation Water quality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This long-term study has been financed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Finnish Forest Research Institute, the Finnish Environment Institute, the University of Joensuu and the Forest cluster Ltd. We would like to thank Ms Marketta Ahtiainen and Prof. (emer.) Hannu Mannerkoski for their contribution in the project. We also thank the Finnish Forest and Park Service for providing the study sites and the staff of the Finnish Forest Research Institute and the Finnish Environment Institute for help in carrying out the field work and laboratory analyses.

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjo Palviainen
    • 1
  • Leena Finér
    • 2
  • Ari Laurén
    • 2
  • Samuli Launiainen
    • 2
  • Sirpa Piirainen
    • 2
  • Tuija Mattsson
    • 3
  • Mike Starr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research UnitJoensuuFinland
  3. 3.Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE)HelsinkiFinland

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