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Clearcutting Patterns Affect Nitrate and Calcium in Streams of New Hampshire

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Streams draining seven forested watersheds in the White Mountains of New Hampshire had average annual nitrate and calcium ion concentrations of about 1.8±1.0 mg/l between 1971 and 1973. Nitrate concentrations in streams from nine watersheds that had been clearcut (all stems larger than 5.0 cm cut) rose to maximums of 25.1 ± 4.2 mg/l. In all streams, the maximum occurred during the second year after cutting. Calcium concentrations rose to maximums of 6.5 ± 1.5 mg/l during either the first or second year after cutting. Both nutrients generally returned to reference levels within five years after clearcutting. Streams draining seven partially clearcut watersheds exhibited a wide range of nitrate and calcium concentrations. Clearcutting less than entire watersheds and leaving buffer strips along the streams reduced the magnitude and duration of increases in concentrations. Progressive strip cutting with a buffer strip caused the lease increase.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Principal Soil Scientist, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, Durham, New Hampshire

Publication date: 1980-05-01

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