Drainage for forestry increases N, P and TOC export to boreal surface waters

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Leena Finér, Ahti Lepistö, Kristian Karlsson, Antti Räike, Laura Härkönen, Markus Huttunen, Samuli Joensuu, Pirkko Kortelainen, Tuija Mattsson, Sirpa Piirainen, Tapani Sallantaus, Sakari Sarkkola, Sirkka Tattari, Liisa Ukonmaanaho. Drainage for forestry increases N, P and TOC export to boreal surface waters. Science of The Total Environment 762 (2021), 144098, ISSN 0048-9697. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144098

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Title: Drainage for forestry increases N, P and TOC export to boreal surface waters
Author: Finér, Leena; Lepistö, Ahti; Karlsson, Kristian; Räike, Antti; Härkönen, Laura; Huttunen, Markus; Joensuu, Samuli; Kortelainen, Pirkko; Mattsson, Tuija; Piirainen, Sirpa; Sallantaus, Tapani; Sarkkola, Sakari; Tattari, Sirkka; Ukonmaanaho, Liisa
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: 2021
Language: en
Belongs to series: Science of The Total Environment 762 (2021), 144098
ISSN: 0048-9697
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144098
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/337090
Abstract: More reliable assessments of nutrient export to surface waters and the Baltic Sea are required to achieve good ecological status of all water bodies. Previous nutrient export estimates have recently been questioned since they did not include the long-term impacts of drainage for forestry. We made new estimates of the total nitrogen (N), total phosphorus (P) and total organic carbon (TOC) export from forests to surface waters at different spatial scales in Finland. This was done by formulating statistical equations between streamwater concentrations and climate, soil, forest management and runoff variables and spatial data on catchment characteristics. The equations were based on a large, long-term runoff and streamwater quality dataset, which was collected from 28 pristine and 61 managed boreal forest catchments located around Finland. We found that the concentrations increased with temperature sum (TS), i.e. from north to south. Nitrogen, P and TOC concentrations increased with the proportion of drained areas in the catchment; those of N and TOC also increased with the proportion of peatlands. In contrast, with the increasing concentrations of N and TOC with time, P concentrations showed a decreasing trend over the last few decades. According to our estimates, altogether 47,300 Mg of N, 1780 Mg of P and 1814 Gg of TOC is transported from forest areas to surface waters in Finland. Forest management contributes 17% of the N export, 35% of the P export and 12% of the TOC export. Our new forest management export estimates for N and P are more than two times higher than the old estimates used by the environment authorities. The differences may be explained by the long-term impact of forest drainage. The spatial results indicate that peatland forests are hotspots for N, P and TOC export, especially in the river basins draining to the Gulf of Bothnia.
Description: Highlights • N, P and TOC export from forests to streams needs more reliable assessments. • Long-term data were used to assess export at different spatial scales in Finland. • N, P and TOC concentrations increased with temperature sum, i.e. from north to south. • Long-term impacts of forest drainage are much bigger than previously estimated. • Drained areas of forests are hotspots for the export of N, P and TOC.
Subject: catchment
forest management
nutrient concentrations
Baltic Sea
Gulf of Bothnia
long-term impacts
long-term data
boreal surface waters
surface waters
spatial scales
different spatial scales
Subject (ysa): boreaalinen vyöhyke
orgaaninen hiili
Itämeren alue
Rights: In Copyright 1.0
Full text embargoed until: 2022-12-17

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