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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Carbon, Nutrients and Methylmercury in Water from Small Catchments Affected by Various Forest Management Operations

Klavina, Zane; Bardule, Arta; Eklof, Karin; Bitenieks, Kriss; Klavins, Ivars; Libiete, Zane


Forest management activities in boreal and hemiboreal environments have been found to increase the concentration of carbon, nutrients, and methylmercury (MeHg) in runoff water, thus contributing to environmental quality issues. We evaluated carbon, nutrient, and MeHg concentrations in water at eight small, forested catchments on organic soils in Latvia, subject to ditch cleaning and beaver dam removal. These management-induced disturbances were classified into a major, minor, or no disturbance classes. The concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and total nitrogen were elevated in disturbed catchments (both major and minor) compared to the catchments with no disturbance. The concentrations of MeHg in the water displayed a clear seasonal variation with higher concentrations in spring and summer, but there were no significant differences in MeHg concentrations between catchments with major, minor, and no disturbances. However, the higher concentrations of SO42- in the disturbed catchments compared to those undisturbed may promote MeHg formation if the conditions become more reduced further downstream. While most former studies of forest management effects on water quality have focused on forest harvest, our research contributes to the currently rather scarce pool of data on the impact of less-studied management operations, such as ditch cleaning and beaver dam removal, on carbon, nutrient, and MeHg concentrations in runoff water.


carbon; nutrients; methylmercury; drainage ditches; forest land; organic soils

Published in

2021, Volume: 12, number: 9, article number: 1278
Publisher: MDPI

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

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