Effects of drainage and forest management practices on hydraulic conductivity of wetland soils

R.W. Skaggs, G.M. Chescheir, D.M. Amatya and J.D. Diggs

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Peatland Forestry

drainage, hydraulic-conductivity, organic-soils, water-table, wetland-forest

Skaggs et al. 2008: Effects of drainage and forest management practices


Continuous records of water table elevations and flow rates from drained forested lands were analysed to determine field effective hydraulic conductivity (K) of a mineral (Deloss s.l.) and an organic (Belhaven muck) soil. K of the top 90 cm of Deloss under mature pine was 60 m/day, which is 20 to 30 times that published for this series. Harvest had a minor effect on K, but site preparation for regeneration, including bedding, reduced the effective K to values typically assumed for this series, 3.6 m/d for the top 45 cm and 1.6 m/d for deeper layers. After regeneration, K values had nearly returned to original values within 8 years after planting. Similar observations on organic soils indicated that field effective K in drained pine plantations is substantially higher than the same soil under agricultural production.