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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Phosphorus in Surface Runoff from a Deciduous Forest1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 3, p. 307-311
    Received: Aug 26, 1974

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  1. Michael J. Singer and
  2. R. H. Rust2



Phosphorus losses from natural systems are the background levels against which losses from managed systems should be measured. In Minnesota many recreational lakes are surrounded by deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forests. The P losses from the forests contribute to the natural nutrient levels of the lakes. Phosphorus losses in leaching water are small. Thus, a logical mechanism for the loss of P from forests is surface runoff (overland flow). This research was conducted to study surface runoff amounts and P content.

On a 16% slope, 0.09 kg ha−1 year−1 P of which 0.03 kg was bound to sediment and 0.06 kg was soluble was measured in surface runoff. The major period of runoff was during spring snowmelt when the soil was frozen. The source of P is the litter layer which undergoes freezing and thawing in fall and early winter.

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