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Leaching of Dissolved Organic Carbon and Trace Elements After Stem-Only and Whole-Tree Clear-cut on Boreal Peatland

Kiikkilä, Oili, Nieminen, Tiina M., Starr, Mike, Mäkilä, Markku, Loukola-Ruskeeniemi, Kirsti, Ukonmaanaho, Liisa
Water, air, and soil pollution 2014 v.225 no.2 pp. 1767
aluminum, bedrock, cadmium, chromium, dissolved organic carbon, drainage water, leaching, lead, nickel, pretreatment, shale, watersheds, zinc, Finland
The aim of this work was to study the short-term effect of clear-cut harvest on concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), B, Al, Zn, Cu, Ni, Cr, Cd and Pb in drainage water from northern peatland catchments in Finland underlain by granitic or black shale bedrock, the latter having higher concentrations of several trace elements, such as Ni and Zn. Stem-only harvest (SOH) or whole-tree harvest (WTH) with stump removal were carried out at coniferous sites. Controls were left unharvested. DOC and trace element concentrations were monitored during one pre-treatment and two post-treatment years. There was no constant increase in the element concentrations. However, there were signs that both SOH and WTH clear-cut harvest on northern peatland catchments increases the concentrations of DOC, B, Al, Zn and Ni in ditchwater in some sites irrespective of the bedrock type. The greatest increases were observed in WTH sites but the study does not allow us to assess the statistical significance of the magnitude of the difference between SOH and WTH. We conclude that the element concentrations in ditchwater depend largely on site characteristics masking the possible effect of harvest.