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The potential effects on water quality of intensified forest management for climate mitigation in Norway

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Øyvind Kaste
Martyn Futter, Nicholas Clarke, Øyvind Kaste, Salar Valinia


The objective of this study was to make an overview assessment of the potential effects of intensified forest management, promoted by the Norwegian government as a climate mitigation measure, on water quality in Norwegian surface waters. This study evaluated the following measures for forest intensification: (i) afforestation, (ii) intensification of planting and (iii) nitrogen fertilization shortly before harvest. A substantial literature review was made and a further development of the DWARF- framework tailored for Norwegian conditions provided the base for the study. The assessments were made based on the potential effects after forest harvest, using different management strategies like stem-only harvest and whole-three harvest. The potential effects were analysed on multiple parameters with focus on acidification, eutrophication, heavy metals, and carbon sequestration. The study used temporal resolution to address what effects the forest management practices might lead to 1, 10 and 100 years after harvest. This study concludes that there will be trade-offs between transitioning to a low carbon society and water quality, and the severity of effects may differ if they are evaluated on an annual, decadal or century scale.