Title

Scale-dependence of Land Use Effects on Water Quality of Streams in Agricultural Catchments

Abstract

The influence of land use on water quality in streams is scale-dependent and varies in time and space. In this study, land cover patterns and stocking rates were used as measures of agricultural development in two pasture and one native grassland catchment in New Zealand and were related to water quality in streams of various orders. The amount of pasture per subcatchment correlated well to total nitrogen and nitrate in one catchment and turbidity and total phosphorous in the other catchment. Stocking rates were only correlated to total phosphorous in one pasture catchment but showed stronger correlations to ammonium, total phosphorous and total nitrogen in the other pasture catchment. Winter and spring floods were significant sources of nutrients and faecal coliforms from one of the pasture catchments into a wetland complex. Nutrient and faecal coliform concentrations were better predicted by pastural land cover in fourth-order than in second-order streams. This suggests that upstream land use is more influential in larger streams, while local land use and other factors may be more important in smaller streams. These temporal and spatial scale effects indicate that water-monitoring schemes need to be scale-sensitive.

Department(s)

Biological Sciences

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2004 Elsevier, Inc., All rights reserved.


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