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This project aims to assess the impacts of peatland restoration by clearfelling on water quality focusing on phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) transport. Phosphorus losses can have negative impacts on aquatic ecology including the freshwater pearl mussel and salmon, whilst DOC losses are important from both an ecological and a climate change perspective.
Preliminary results indicate that phosphate concentrations increased at all three monitoring sites following felling but differences between the sites reflect local conditions and the management techniques employed. DOC concentrations increased at two out of three sites but the increase appears to be short-lived.
The project began in 2008 and is due to be completed in 2018 although some components may continue beyond that time. Data is still being collected at the sites with additional monitoring in place to look at the effects of mulching on water quality. The results are now being prepared for presentation and publication.
The results will assess the need for improved guidance on best practice for forest removal for peatland restoration
Forestry Commission and Forestry Commission Scotland. This research is primarily funded by the Forestry Commission delivering resilient forests research programme.
Forestry Commission policy
The protection of the water environment is a key element of sustainable forestry and this research directly supports the Forestry Commission policy of achieving sustainable forest management in the UK.
In addition Country Forestry Strategies (Scotland, England, and Wales) identify the need to protect and enhance water resources with the water related aims based on the EU Water Framework Directive (2000), which establishes the principal framework for protecting and improving the water environment
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