Tommy Dalgaard

The importance of riparian zones on stream carbon and nitrogen export in a temperate, agricultural dominated landscape

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearch

  • T Wohlfart
  • ,
  • J F Exbrayat
  • ,
  • Kirsten Schelde, Denmark
  • Tommy Dalgaard
  • H.G. Frede
  • ,
  • L. Breuer
The surrounding landscape of a stream has crucial impacts on the aquatic environment. This study pictures the hydro-biogeochemical situation of the Tyrebaekken creek catchment in central Jutland, Denmark. The intensively managed agricultural landscape is dominated by rotational croplands. One northern and one southern stream run through the catchment before converging to form a second order brook. The small catchments mainly consist of sandy soil types besides organic soils along the riparian zone of the streams. The aim of the study was to characterise the relative influence of soil type and land use on stream water quality. Nine snapshot sampling campaigns were undertaken during the growing season of 2009. On each sampling day, 20 points along the stream were sampled as well as eight drain outlets and two groundwater wells. Total dissolved nitrogen, nitrate, ammonium nitrogen and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were measured and dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) was calculated for each grabbed sample. Electro-conductivity, pH and flow velocity were measured during sampling. Statistical analyses showed significant differences between the northern, southern and converged stream parts, especially for nitrate concentrations with average values of 9.6mgNl−1, 1.4mgNl−1 and 3.0mgNl−1, respectively. Furthermore, throughout the sampling period DON concentrations increased from 0.1mgNl−1 to 2.8mgNl−1 and from 0.1mgNl−1 to 0.8mgNl−1 in the northern and southern streams, respectively. This corresponded to a contribution of up to 81% to total dissolved nitrogen. Multiplelinear regression analyses performed between chemical data and landscape charateristics showed a significant negative influence of organic soils on instream N concentrations and corresponding losses in spite of their overall minor share of the agricultural land (12.9%). On the other hand, organic soil frequency was positively correlated to the corresponding dissolved organic carbon concentrations. Croplands also had a significant influence but with weaker correlations. For our case study we conclude that soil types and corresponding biogeochemical properties have a major influence on stream water chemistry. Meanwhile, the contribution of dissolved organic nitrogen to the total nitrogen budget was substantial in this agricultural dominated landscape.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiogeosciences Discussions
Pages (from-to)7465-7497
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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