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Efficiencies of Forestry Best Management Practices for Reducing Sediment and Nutrient Losses in the Eastern United States

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Quantifying the effects of forestry best management practices (BMPs) on sediment and nutrient loads is a critical need. Through an exhaustive literature search, three paired forested watershed studies in the eastern United States were found that permitted the calculation of BMP efficiencies—the percent reduction in sediment or nutrients achieved by BMPs. For sediment, BMP efficiencies ranged from 53 to 94% during harvest and up to 1 year after harvesting. For nutrients, BMP efficiencies were higher for total nitrogen (60‐80%) and phosphorus (85‐86%), which included particulate and sediment-bound forms, than for nitrate-nitrogen (12%), which occurs primarily in the dissolved phase. Results indicate forestry BMPs can significantly reduce sediment and nutrient loads; however, BMPs appear to be more effective at reducing pollutants associated with surface runoff than with subsurface flow.

Keywords: harvesting; nitrogen; paired watersheds; phosphorus; water quality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2010

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.
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