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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Managing Swedish forestry's impact on mercury in fish: Defining the impact and mitigation measures

Eklöf, Karin; Lidskog, Rolf; Bishop, Kevin


Inputs of anthropogenic mercury (Hg) to the environment have led to accumulation of Hg in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, contributing to fish Hg concentrations well above the European Union standards in large parts of Fennoscandia. Forestry operations have been reported to increase the concentrations and loads of Hg to surface waters by mobilizing Hg from the soil. This summary of available forestry effect studies reveals considerable variation in treatment effects on total Hg (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) at different sites, varying from no effect up to manifold concentration increases, especially for the bioavailable MeHg fraction. Since Hg biomagnification depends on trophic structures, forestry impacts on nutrient flows will also influence the Hg in fish. From this, we conclude that recommendations for best management practices in Swedish forestry operations are appropriate from the perspective of mercury contamination. However, the complexity of defining effective policies needs to be recognized.


Bioaccumulation; Boreal forest; Forestry effects; Methylation; Methylmercury; Risk governance

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2016, Volume: 45, number: Suppl. 2, pages: S163-S174
Publisher: SPRINGER

    SLU Authors

    • Associated SLU-program

      Non-toxic environment
      Lakes and watercourses
      SLU Future Forests

      Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG3 Good health and well-being

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Sciences
      Other Biological Topics
      Environmental Management

      Publication Identifiers


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