Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Consequences of nitrate leaching following stem-only harvesting of Swedish forests are dependent on spatial scale

Futter, Martyn; Ring, E; Högbom, L; Entenmann, S; Bishop, Kevin


Short-term increases in soil solution nitrate (NO(3)(-)) concentration are often observed after forest harvest, even in N-limited systems. We model NO(3)(-) leaching below the rooting zone as a function of site productivity. Using national forest inventories and published estimates of N attenuation in rivers and the riparian zone, we estimate effects of stem-only harvesting on NO(3)(-) leaching to groundwater, surface waters and the marine environment. Stem-only harvesting is a minor contributor to NO(3)(-) pollution of Swedish waters. Effects in surface waters are rapidly diluted downstream, but can be locally important for shallow well-waters as well as for the total amount of N reaching the sea. Harvesting adds approximately 8 Gg NO(3)-N to soil waters in Sweden, with local concentrations up to 7 mg NO(3)-N 1(-1). Of that, similar to 3.3 Gg reaches the marine environment. This is similar to 3% of the overall Swedish N load to the Baltic. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Nitrate; Forests; Baltic

Published in

Environmental Pollution
2010, Volume: 158, number: 12, pages: 3552-3559