Current issue: 53(3)
Under compilation: 53(4)
The amount of water in peat soil is one factor affecting its bearing capacity, which is a crucial aspect in planning peatland timber harvesting operations. We studied the influence of weather variables on the variation of drained peatland growing season water conditions, here the ground water table depth (WTD). WTD was manually monitored four times in 2014 and three times in 2015 in 10–30 sample plots located in four drained peatland forests in south-western Finland. For each peatland, precipitation and evapotranspiration were calculated from the records of the nearest Finnish Meteorological Institute field stations covering periods from one day to four weeks preceding the WTD monitoring date. A mixed linear model was constructed to investigate the impact of the weather parameters on WTD. Precipitation of the previous four–week period was the most important explanatory variable. The four-week evapotranspiration amount was interacting with the Julian day showing a greater effect in late summer. Other variables influencing WTD were stand volume within the three-metre radius sample plot and distance from nearest ditch. Our results show the potential of weather parameters, specifically that of the previous four-week precipitation and evapotranspiration, for predicting drained peatland water table depth variation and subsequently, the possibility to develop a more general empirical model to assist planning of harvesting operations on drained peatlands.