A report on the installation of open-ditch drainage and its effect on groundwater fluctuations in a poorly drained forest soil

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University of New Brunswick


This study is concerned with the problem of poor drainage in forest soils and explores the feasibility of open-ditch drainage as a corrective measure. An area was selected with poorly drained soil, supporting predominately coniferous growth in the University of New Brunswick Woodlot. Piezometers were installed on two plots in September of 1982 and water table measurements were carried out at regular time intervals. In September of 1983, an open-ditch drainage system was installed on one of the two plots, and water table measurements were continued till the end of November. Piezometers indicated a significant effect of the ditches on the water table. In the presence of the ditches, the rise of the water table was delayed in the fall. At the onset of winter, the water table was five to fifteen cm below the control in the majority of the piezometers. These measurements only reflect the initial results. Full evaluation of the experiment will most likely require water table measurements and concurrent observations on tree growth and ground cover vegetation over the next few years.