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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 6 No. 2, p. 188-192
    Received: Apr 5, 1976

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Nutrient Transport in Surface Runoff and Interflow from an Aspen-Birch Forest1

  1. D. R. Timmons,
  2. E. S. Verry,
  3. R. E. Burwell and
  4. R. F. Holt2



Nutrients transported in surface runoff and interflow from an undisturbed aspen-birch (Populus tremuloides Michx., and Betula papyrifera Marsh.) forest (6.48 ha) in northern Minnesota were measured for 3 years. Surface runoff from snowmelt accounted for 97% of the average annual surface runoff and for 57% of the average annual water loss. Slope aspect influenced the amount, rate, and time of snowmelt runoff. In surface runoff, organic nitrogen (N) comprised 80% of the total N load, and organic (+ hydrolyzable) phosphorus (P) comprised 45% of the total P load. The quantities of cations in surface runoff were in the order of calcium (Ca) > potassium (K) > magnesium (Mg) > sodium (Na). More than 96% of all the nutrients in surface runoff were transported by snowmelt. The annual volumes of interflow varied only slightly during the 3 years. Compared with surface runoff, the amounts of all the nutrients (except Na) and their weighted concentrations decreased in interflow. These nutrient losses from the ecosystem can accumulate in surface waters.

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