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The effect of clear-cutting on the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), organic nitrogen (DON), NH4+, NO3–, and P in outflow water from three productive, Norway spruce dominated drained peatlands (RCC, VCC-1, VCC-2) were studied. Changes in runoff and transport loads (concentration x runoff) at two of the catchments during the frost-free period are also presented. Approximately 40% of the area was cut at RCC and VCC-2, and 72% at VCC-1. The volume removed was 250 m3 ha–1 at RCC, 259 m3 ha–1 at VCC-1, and for VCC-2, 317 m3 ha–1. The mean annual increase in outflow concentrations of DOC during the first four years after clear-cutting was 9.0 mg l–1 at RCC, 22.8 mg l–1 at VCC-1 and 8.4 mg l–1 at VCC-2. Corresponding increases in the forms of nitrogen were: 0.23, 0.51 and 0.16 mg DON l–1; 0.06, 0.31 and 0.04 mg NH4+-N l–1; and 0.05, 0.12 and 0.22 mg NO3–-N l–1. Clear-cutting did not significantly (p > 0.05) increase P concentrations. The increase in non-frost season runoff over the first three years after clear-cutting was 107 mm at RCC and 207 mm at VCC-1. The export loads of DOC during the non-frost season increased by 80 kg ha–1 at RCC and by 184 kg ha–1 at VCC-1 over the first three years. Corresponding increases for the other studied solutes were: 1.78 and 3.98 kg DON ha–1; 0.39 and 1.49 kg NH4+-N ha–1; 0.45 and 0.48 kg NO3–-N ha–1, and 0.09 and 0.06 kg P ha–1. The study demonstrated that clear-cutting may significantly increase the export of DOC and different forms of nitrogen from drained productive peatlands while only small increases in phosphorus export may occur.
Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Centre, P.O. Box 18, FIN-01301 Vantaa, Finland