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Finnegan, J., Regan, J.T., Fenton, O., Lanigan, G.J., Brennan, R.B., Healy, M.G.
Journal Of Environmental Management
The short-term effects of management changes on watertable position and nutrients in shallow groundwater in a harvested peatland forest
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Forestry Peat Clearfelling Watertable Groundwater Nutrients
Management changes such as drainage, fertilisation, afforestation and harvesting (clearfelling) of forested peatlands influence watertable (WT) position and groundwater concentrations of nutrients. This study investigated the impact of clearfelling of a peatland forest on WT and nutrient concentrations. Three areas were examined: (1) a regenerated riparian peatland buffer (RB) clearfelled four years prior to the present study (2) a recently clearfelled coniferous forest (CF) and (3) a standing, mature coniferous forest (SF), on which no harvesting took place. The WT remained consistently below 0.3 m during the pre-clearfelling period. Results showed there was an almost immediate rise in the WT after clearfelling and a rise to 0.15 m below ground level (bgl) within 10 months of clearfelling. Clearfelling of the forest increased dissolved reactive phosphorus concentrations (from an average of 28 to 230 µg L-1) in the shallow groundwater, likely caused by leaching from degrading brash mats.
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