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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Relationship between structural features and water chemistry in boreal headwater streams-evaluation based on results from two water management survey tools suggested for Swedish forestry

Lestander, Ragna; Löfgren, Stefan; Henrikson, Lennart; Ågren, Anneli


Forestry may cause adverse impacts on water quality, and the forestry planning process is a key factor for the outcome of forest operation effects on stream water. To optimise environmental considerations and to identify actions needed to improve or maintain the stream biodiversity, two silvicultural water management tools, BIS+ (biodiversity, impact, sensitivity and added values) and Blue targeting, have been developed. In this study, we evaluate the links between survey variables, based on BIS+ and Blue targeting data, and water chemistry in 173 randomly selected headwater streams in the hemiboreal zone. While BIS+ and Blue targeting cannot replace more sophisticated monitoring methods necessary for classifying water quality in streams according to the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000/60/EC), our results lend support to the idea that the BIS+ protocol can be used to prioritise the protection of riparian forests. The relationship between BIS+ and water quality indicators (concentrations of nutrients and organic matter) together with data from fish studies suggests that this field protocol can be used to give reaches with higher biodiversity and conservation values a better protection. The tools indicate an ability to mitigate forestry impacts on water quality if the operations are adjusted to this knowledge in located areas.


Water management; Forestry; Boreal forest; Eutrophication; Acidification; Siltation

Published in

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
2015, Volume: 187, number: 4, article number: 190
Publisher: SPRINGER