, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 523–534 | Cite as

A synthesis of the impacts of ditch network maintenance on the quantity and quality of runoff from drained boreal peatland forests

  • Mika NieminenEmail author
  • Marjo Palviainen
  • Sakari Sarkkola
  • Ari Laurén
  • Hannu Marttila
  • Leena Finér


Drained peatlands are an important source of forest biomass in boreal regions and ditch network maintenance (DNM) operations may be needed to restore the drainage functions of ditches. By reviewing the available literature, as well as utilizing an existing hydrological model and analyzing the characteristics of eroded sediments, we assessed the impacts of DNM on runoff and exports of suspended solids (SS), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P). In general, DNM had minor impact on runoff and dissolved N and P, and it decreased rather than increased DOC exports. To increase the understanding of the hydrochemical impacts of DNM, future research should focus on the characteristics of SS and particulate nutrient exports. A major gap in knowledge is also the very limited regional representativeness of the available studies. High erosion risk in the ditches reaching the mineral soil below peat should be acknowledged when planning mitigation measures.


DOC Nitrogen Phosphorus Runoff Suspended solids Water quality 



The WAMBAF (Water Management in Baltic Forests) project funded from the EU Baltic Sea Region Programme is acknowledged for providing funding.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mika Nieminen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marjo Palviainen
    • 2
  • Sakari Sarkkola
    • 1
  • Ari Laurén
    • 3
  • Hannu Marttila
    • 4
  • Leena Finér
    • 3
  1. 1.Natural Resources Institute FinlandHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Natural Resources Institute FinlandJoensuuFinland
  4. 4.Water Resources and Environmental Engineering Research UnitUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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