Impacts of Forest Cover on Surface Runoff Quality in Small Catchments

Marek Trenčiansky, Martina Štěrbová, Jozef Výbošťok, Martin Lieskovský

Abstract


Forest cover influences not only the amount of surface runoff, but also its quality. The concentrations of chemicals in surface runoff differ between forest catchments and non-forest catchments (agricultural areas). The authors investigated the chemical compositions of surface runoff in two small neighboring catchments (forest, non-forest), by analyzing and summarizing data over a period of 26 years from 1986 to 2012. During this period, the stock and absorption area of forest stands increased, air quality improved, the agricultural landscape was partly regenerated, and global climate change became apparent. The authors observed differences in surface runoff between forest- and non-forest catchments. However, these differences were not mainly caused by the influence of the forest cover, but by changes in agricultural land management. Since 2006, agricultural land has been managed without the use of artificial fertilizers, which reduced the contents of pollutants in surface runoff from the non-forest catchment. The existence of the forest as such excludes or noticeably eliminates the use of fertilizers and chemical substances that affect water quality.

Keywords


Water quality; Forestry; Agriculture; Forest ecosystem services

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