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A Review of Forest Swamp Drainage Methods in Northern Europe

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Drainage of peatlands and wet mineral soils has been used extensively in northern Europe on more than 4 million acres as a means of increasing growth rate of the forest. In many places this increased growth rate has amounted to 15 to 60 cubic feet per acre per year. On very good sites it has exceeded 100 cubic feet, and on very poor sites there has been virtually no growth response. Since a large proportion of the swamps--in some countries exceeding 50 percent--is not feasible for drainage, it is apparent that careful site selection is imperative. The costs of drainage have in recent years been drastically lowered by the use of large winch-drawn ditching plows. These usually weigh from 3 to 6 tons and make ditches at 50- to 80-yard intervals. The ditches are up to 3 feet deep, 3 to 5 feet wide at the top, and around 0.5 foot wide at the bottom with a cross-sectional area of from 3 to 10 square feet, depending on type and setting of the plow. The actual cost of making the ditches is generally from 2 to 4 cents per lineal foot, or around $5 to $10 per acre. Careful research is necessary before any such program is undertaken in the boreal and northern forests to determine the applicability of drainage under the economy of North America and to insure the protection of wildlife values and the water resource.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Senior Soil Scientist, Lake States Forest Experiment Sta., Forest Service, U. S. Dept. Agric. The Station is maintained at St. Paul, Minn., in cooperation with the University of Minnesota

Publication date: February 1, 1963

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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