Current issue: 53(4)
The article deals with forest ditches dug by manual labour in drained peatlands in Central and Southern Finland, ranging in age from 16 to 25 years. The ditches have been allowed to develop in a natural state. A total 1,160 of randomly selected sample plots were studied.
The results show that the originally dug ditch depth has not been the decisive factor from the viewpoint of maintaining the ditch repair. Ditches dug in thick peat layer have maintained their repair better than those dug in thin peat layer. Apparently, the influencing factor is the type of soil, to a certain extent parallel to the thickness of peat layer. In ditches dug mainly in mineral soil, the type of soil has essentially contributed to maintaining the ditch repair. Ditches in coarse-grained soils maintained a better repair than those in fine-grained soils. Also, the steeper the gradient of the ditch the better the ditch repair has been maintained. There was no relationship between the thickness of peat and the filling up of ditch bottom, because of the influence of mineral soil. Filling up of a ditch seems to be mainly due to the sinking of peat. The filling up of ditch bottom was more pronounced in clay-silt soil than in other soil types. The filling up of ditch bottom by varying gradient is due to the fact that with a small gradient the speed of water is so slow as to permit the soil particles to sink to the bottom. Another factor affecting filling up of the ditches is wetness of the peatland. Deepening of ditches happens mainly through erosion, if the gradient is large enough. The study suggests that a 50-m spacing with about 60-cm ditchc depth would be most profitable.
The PDF includes a summary in English.