A bog is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, in most cases, Sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, quagmire and muskeg.
Frequently, as the illustration on the right shows, they are covered in Ericaceous shrubs rooted in the Sphagnum moss and peat. The gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog forms a carbon sink.
Bogs occur where the water at the ground surface is acidic and low in nutrients. In some cases, the water is got entirely from precipitation, in which case they are (rain-fed). Water flowing out of bogs has a characteristic brown colour, which comes from dissolved peat tannins.
In general the low fertility and cool climate results in relatively slow plant growth, but decay is even slower owing to the saturated soil. Hence peat accumulates. Large areas of landscape can be covered many meters deep in peat. Bogs have a distinctive group of plant and animal species, and are of high importance for biodiversity, particularly in landscapes that are otherwise settled and farmed.
References[change | edit source]
- Keddy P.A. 2010. Wetland ecology: principles and conservation. 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press.
- "British soil is battlefield over peat, for bogs’ sake". The New York Times. October 6, 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/science/earth/british-gardeners-battle-over-peat-for-bogs-sake.html. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- Gorham E. 1957. The development of peatlands. Quarterly Review of Biology. 32, 145–166.