Input and output of minerals for an area of Pennine moorland: The importance of precipitation, drainage, peat erosion and animals.
An outline balance sheet for water, Na, K, Ca, P and N was constructed for a stream catchment of 83 ha. The catchment surface comprised 11-20% eroding peat, 80-85 % blanket-bog vegetation and a little grassland. Inputs in precipitation and outputs in stream water, eroding peat, downstream drift of invertebrates and sale of sheep and wool were estimated. About 80 % of the input water left the catchment via the stream. Only peat erosion and solution in stream water were routes of significant output of the five elements; for each element, output exceeded input but there may have been additional input of metals from mineral deposits. Outputs of P, 33 kg/year, and N, 244 kg, in stream water were far below inputs but losses from eroding peat were 37 kg P and 1214 kg N and brought the totals to above input values. Estimated net losses of P and N in all forms were 0.17-0.40 kg and 9.48 kg respectively.