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Research article2007Peer reviewedOpen access

Importance of seasonality and small streams for the landscape regulation of dissolved organic carbon export

Agren A, Buffam I, Jansson M, Laudon H


[1] The regulation of the spatial and seasonal variation in terrestrial dissolved organic carbon (DOC) exports was studied in a 68 km(2) boreal stream system in northern Sweden. A total of 1213 DOC samples were collected in 15 subcatchments over a 3 year period (2003-2005). The mean annual DOC exports from the 15 subcatchments (0.03-21.72 km(2)) ranged from 14.8 to 99.1 kg ha(-1) yr(-1). Many catchment characteristics determined the spatial variation in DOC exports. The relative importance of the different catchment characteristics varied greatly between seasons because of differing hydrological conditions. During winter base flow the spatial variation was linked to patterns in wetland coverage. During snowmelt in spring the spatial variation was connected to characteristics describing size and location, i.e., median stream size, silty sediment distribution, stream order, altitude, and proportion of catchment above highest postglacial coastline (HC). During the snow-free season the spatial variation in DOC exports was regulated by the amount of wetlands and forests, particularly forests made up of Norway spruce (Picea abies). Median stream size also influenced the exports during this season. A striking result in this study was the effect of size implying that small headwaters may be the largest contributor to the terrestrial DOC export, per unit area

Published in

Journal of Geophysical Research
2007, Volume: 112, number: G3, article number: G03003

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        Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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