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Management practises and environmental effects of agricultural drainage in Lithuania

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2016 10th International Drainage Symposium Conference, 6-9 September 2016, Minneapolis, Minnesota  .(doi:10.13031/IDS.20162513379)
Authors:   Arvydas Povilaitis
Keywords:   Agricultural drainage, environmental effects, Lithuania.

Abstract. In Lithuania, artificial drainage is a common agricultural practice. It remains one of the most extensively drained countries in the world. The total drained land area occupies 47% of the country‘s land area and 87% of agricultural land area, of which 87% is tile-drained. Although the introduction of drainage has improved the quality of agricultural land, the benefits of drainage were associated with many alterations in the local environments.

Therefore, a review is presented of the results from various investigations and research studies conducted in Lithuania that have reported diverse aspects of the development of agricultural drainage, as well as its environmental impacts on local hydrology and nutrient losses in the soil. The effect of various measures (i.e. lime filter drainage, controlled drainage and woodchip denitrification bioreactors) aiming to reduce nutrient losses via drainage is presented. Temporal changes in drainage runoff over the last four decades along with projected effect of climate change on nutrient fluxes via drainage are also discussed.

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