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Observations about the influence of forest drainage on the surrounding peatland areas

, : Observations about the influence of forest drainage on the surrounding peatland areas. Suo (Helsinki) 33(1): 11-16

The area under study was 500 ha surrounded in the east and west by drained peatland forests. The first site was initially drained in 1961, the second was drained at different times in the 1930s and 1950s. In 1961, 20 sample plots (20 .times. 20 m) were built on the area for educational purposes, 14 of which represent forest covered peatland site types. Growth increment data of the tree stand of the sample plots was measured 3 times in the 20 yr since establishment. Growth data representing the situation in the 1960s indicated a slight increase in the volume of the growing stock, an increase which is comparable to the average achieved for Southern Finland (Heikurainen 1971). The growth data for the 1970s revealed an increase in the increment of most sample plots. Considerable increase occurred in tree growth on peatlands. The neighboring drainage had hydrological consequences which modified the virgin peatland ecosystem. This change caused the improvement in forest growth in the surrounding areas. The improving effect of forest drainage on forest growth may extend beyond the area intended for drainage. The change in vegetation, tree stand, etc., resulting from forest drainage may be more powerful than previously expected and could affect an area originally intended for preservation in natural condition (natural conservation areas). It is possible for virgin ecosystems to be influenced several hundreds of meters from the drainage area.

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