Current issue: 54(4)
Under compilation: 54(5)
The paper is based on data collected from 411 sample plots in various parts of Finland situated on peatlands which had been drained in the 1930's. The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of ditch spacing on the volume, increment and structure of timber crops growing on drained peatlands. The ditches had been spaced 70–90 m apart, and the sample plots were placed strip wise along the ditches.
The results of the study indicate that the influence of ditch spacing on both the total volume and the volume increment is greater, the poorer the site. On the other hand, the influence of ditch spacing on the structure of the stand as described by means of the mean diameter as weighted by the basal area, seems to be of similar magnitude in all the sites covered by the study.
Generally speaking, the influence of ditch spacing on stand development is surprisingly small, even in extreme cases. The total volume and the increment of the growing stock decrease by about 20% when the ditch spacing increases from 20 to 60 m, the corresponding decrease in the mean diameter having a magnitude of 10%. This was interpreted to be due to the fact that the main part of the superior growth along the margin of the ditch is spent in compensating for the space lost in the area taken up by the ditches.
On the basis of the results obtained it was concluded that the best solution in forest drainage from the economic viewpoint is to employ relatively wide ditch spacings, which leads to a rate of stand development somewhat below the potential.
The PDF includes a summary in Finnish.