Course code MežZ5007

Credit points 3

Management of Waterlogged Forests

Total Hours in Course120

Number of hours for lectures24

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes24

Independent study hours72

Date of course confirmation16.03.2021

Responsible UnitDepartment of Silviculture

Course developer

author doc.

Zane Lībiete

PhD programme(līm.)

Course abstract

In Latvia, significant part of forests is located in waterlogged or drained areas with specific ecological conditions. These need to be understood, in order to make decisions about management and protection of these areas. Forest drainage and drainage system maintenance has an impact on forest growth, water quality and other ecosystem components, and it needs to be taken into consideration in planning forest management operations. Climate change has significant impact on the hydrological regime, and it may cause a number of management challenges in the future. The course will provide insight into above-mentioned topics.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

After the course the students will have obtained knowledge about hydrological processes in forest ecosystems and ecological significance of forest drainage. Students will be able to evaluate the management alternatives of waterlogged and drained forests, as well as the water regime-related management challenges in the context of climate change. Students will have acquired competence in making management decisions and pursuing further scientific studies of questions related to forest hydrology.

Course Content(Calendar)

Topic 1. Ecosystem and its influencing factors. Water in nature, water cycle. Interaction between water and terrestrial ecosystems. Types of water. Groundwater. Depression curve. Confined aquifers. Water in forest ecosystems. Water cycle in forest.
3 h lecture, 1 h practice
Topic 2. Latvian forest typology. Forest and wetland ecosystems. Peatlands. Peat resources and their utilization. Recultivation of peatlands.
2 h lecture, 2 h practice
Topic 3. Waterlogging of forests. Water and nutrient transport in the trees. The impact of excess moisture on forest ecosystem. Aeration. Root functions. Mycorrhiza.
4 h lecture
Topic 4. Melioration, history, types. The importance of drainage in increasing forest growth, the impact on soil and tree stand. Drainage methods. Forest drainage systems and its parts.
4 h lecture
Topic 5. The impact of forest management (logging, building of forest infrastructure) on water regime and nutrient cycling. The specifics of nutrient cycling in drained forests. Beaver activity and its impact.
3 h lecture, 1 h practice
Topic 6. Forest drainage system renovation. Requirements and methods for water quality protection.
4 h lecture, 2 h practice
Topic 7. Climate change interaction with water cycle and forest management. Risks and opportunities. Water retention measures. Examples from Latvia and abroad, collaboration and knowledge exchange.
4 h lecture, 2 h practice

Outdoor practice – water quality evaluation in forest drainage systems, evaluation of management alternatives. Ecological functionality of forest buffers. Evaluation of beaver activity impact.
16 h

Total 48 h (24 h lectures, 24 h practice)

Requirements for awarding credit points

Two passed tests, active participation in practices and seminars, one presented scientific paper to the audience.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

Students are provided with access to study literature in Latvian and English, as well as links to useful online resources. They are given clear requirements for tasks of the course. Consultations are available.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

Tests are graded according to the proportion of the correct answers from the total number of answers (20 answers in the 1st test, 15 answers in the 2nd test). Seminar participation and presentation are graded according to its overall quatity, students’ input and understanding of the topics.

Compulsory reading

1.Zālītis P. 2012. Mežs un ūdens. Salaspils, LVMI “Silava”, ISBN 978-9934-8016-6-2
2.Zālītis P. 2006. Mežkopības priekšnosacījumi. Rīga, et cetera, ISBN 9984-19-976-2
3.Chang M. 2003. Forest hydrology: An introduction to water and forests, ISBN 0-8493-1363-5
4.Paavilainen E. & Päivänen J. 1995. Peatland Forestry. Ecology and Principles, ISBN 978-3-662-03125-4
5. Hanell B. & Päivänen J. 2012. Peatland ecology and forestry : a sound approach, ISBN 978-952-10-4531-8

Further reading

1.Melecis V. 2011. Ekoloģija. LU Akadēmiskais apgāds, ISBN 978-9984-45-422-1
2.Aigars J. (red.) 2018. Latvijas ekosistēmu dinamika klimata ietekmē, ISBN 978-9934-18-381-2
3.Beckers J., Smerdon B., Wilson M. 2009. Review of hydrologic models for forest management and climate change applications in British Columbia and Alberta, ISSN 1495-9658
4.Priede A. Un Gancone A. (red.) 2019. Kūdras ieguves ietekmētu teritoriju atbildīga apsaimniekošana un ilgtspējīga izmantošana, ISBN 978-9934-19-845-8
5.Pakalne M., Strazdiņa L. 2013. Augsto purvu apsaimniekošana bioloģiskās daudzveidības saglabāšanai Latvijā, ISBN 978-9934-517-37-2
6. Rydin H. & Jeglum J.K. 2006. The Biology of Peatlands, ISBN-13:

Periodicals and other sources

Baltic Forestry,
Boreal Environmental Research,
Hydrological Processes,
Journal of Hydrology,
Silva Fennica,
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research,


Compulsory full-time course of the academic Master’s programme Forest Science of the Forest Faculty.