Project: Reducing the effects of forest management on inland waters

Acronym REFORM WATER (Reference Number: WaterJPI-JC-2018_13)
Project Topic The largest lakes in Nordic countries, which are among the most important raw water supplies for the major cities, are showing brownification e.g. increase in dissolved organic matter and humic substances. This phenomena, common across much of the northern latitudes, has primarily been suggested to result from processes related to the recovery from acid deposition and increase in winter precipitation. However, in the Nordic countries, land use primarily related to forest management on drained peatlands have also been shown to play an important role in the large scale brownification1,2. As the demand for timber, pulpwood, renewable energy sources and biodegradable materials is increasing, there is an ongoing pressure to use the large timber stock on drained peatlands and to carry out ditch network maintenance (DNM) to maintain tree growth. Since up to 25% of the forest area in the Nordic countries is on drained peatlands, related increases in dissolved organic matter (DOM) and accompanying nutrient fluxes is one major threat to water quality. Warming climate, increasing growing stock and large scale DNM in forested peatlands are likely to enhance organic matter decomposition and subsequent brownification and eutrophication of water bodies, thus affecting the water quality. There is significant timber stock in the large drained peatland forests that are soon coming to harvesting age. The aim of this study is therefore to quantify the effects of current management practices of peatland forests, such as harvesting and subsequent ditch network maintenance (DNM), on the quality and the transport of DOM to aquatic systems. In addition, we will develop a novel tool based on biochar application to decrease the DOM and nutrient load to aquatic systems. Finally, we aim to develop state-of-the art process-modelling techniques for assessing the effects of forest management practices on water quality in peatland-dominated catchments, and for optimizing the production in such a way that enables wood production while keeping the adverse environmental impacts to a minimum.
Network WaterWorks2017
Call Water JPI 2018 Joint Call Closing the Water Cycle Gap

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Eastern Finland Coordinator Finland
2 University of Helsinki Partner Finland
3 University of Tartu Partner Estonia
4 University College Dublin Partner Ireland
5 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Partner Sweden