Ombrotrophic ("cloud-fed") soils or vegetation receive all of their water and nutrients from precipitation, rather than from streams or springs. Such environments are hydrologically isolated from the surrounding landscape, and since rain is acidic and very low in nutrients, they are home to organisms tolerant of acidic, low-nutrient environments. The vegetation of ombrotrophic peatlands is often bog, dominated by Sphagnum mosses. The hydrology of these environments are directly related to their climate, as precipitation is the water and nutrient source, and temperatures dictate how quickly water evaporates from these systems.[1]

Ombrotrophic circumstances may occur even in landscapes composed of limestone or other nutrient-rich substrates – for example, in high-rainfall areas, limestone boulders may be capped by acidic ombrotrophic bog vegetation. Epiphytic vegetation (plants growing on other plants) is ombrotrophic.

In contrast to ombrotrophic environments, minerotrophic environments are those where the water supply comes mainly from streams or springs. This water has flowed over or through rocks often acquiring dissolved chemicals which raise the nutrient levels and reduce the acidity, which leads to different vegetation such as fen or poor fen.

Koitjärve raba 05-2015
Precipitation accumulates in many bogs forming bog pools.

See also


  1. ^ Davies, Bethan; Farmer, Jenny; Royles, Jessica; Amesbury, Matt; Payne, Richard; Swindles, Graeme; van Bellen, Simon; Roland, Tom. "Bogs and Climate". Bogology. Bogology. Retrieved 20 April 2018.


  • Charman, D., Peatlands and Environmental Change. John Wiley & Sons, 2002. ISBN 0-471-96990-7

Archaeol is one of the main core membrane lipids of archaea, one of the three domains of life. One of the key features that distinguishes archaea from bacteria and eukarya is their membrane lipids, where archaeol plays an important role. Because of this, archaeol is also broadly used as a biomarker for ancient archaea, especially methanogens, activity..

Archaeol is generally composed by linking two phytanyl chains to the sn-2 and sn-3 positions of a glycerol molecule. The highly branched side chains are speculated to account for the very low permeability of archaeol-based membrane, which may be one of the key adaptations of archaea to extreme environments.


Base-richness in ecology is the level in water or soil of chemical bases, such as calcium or magnesium ions. Many organisms are restricted to base-rich environments. Chemical bases are alkalis, and so base-rich environments are neutral or alkaline. Because base-poor environments have few bases, they are dominated by environmental acids (usually organic acids) and so are acidic. However, the relationship between base-richness and acidity is not a rigid one – changes in the levels of acids (such as dissolved carbon dioxide) may significantly change acidity without affecting base-richness.

Base-rich terrestrial environments are characteristic of areas where the underlying rocks are limestone. Seawater is also base-rich, so maritime and marine environments are themselves base-rich.

Base-poor environments are characteristic of areas where the underlying rocks are sandstone or granite, or where the water is derived directly from rainfall (ombrotrophic).


A bog or bogland is a wetland that accumulates peat, a deposit of dead plant material—often mosses, and in a majority of cases, sphagnum moss. It is one of the four main types of wetlands. Other names for bogs include mire, quagmire, and muskeg; alkaline mires are called fens. They are frequently covered in ericaceous shrubs rooted in the sphagnum moss and peat. The gradual accumulation of decayed plant material in a bog functions as a carbon sink.Bogs occur where the water at the ground surface is acidic and low in nutrients. In some cases, the water is derived entirely from precipitation, in which case they are termed ombrotrophic (cloud-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 result in relatively slow plant growth, but decay is even slower owing to the saturated soil. Hence, peat accumulates. Large areas of the landscape can be covered many meters deep in peat.Bogs have distinctive assemblages of animal, fungal and plant species, and are of high importance for biodiversity, particularly in landscapes that are otherwise settled and farmed.

Burns Bog

Burns Bog is an ombrotrophic peat bog located in Delta, British Columbia, Canada. It is the largest raised peat bog and the largest undeveloped urban land mass on the West Coast of the Americas. Burns Bog was originally 10,000–12,000 acres (4,000–4,900 ha) before development. Currently, only 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) remain of the bog.Burns Bog is habitat to more than 300 plant and animal species, and 175 bird species. Some of these animals are listed as endangered (i.e. red-listed) or vulnerable (i.e. blue-listed) under the BC Provincial Government Species at-risk designations. The bog is also a major migratory stopover for various bird species on the Pacific Flyway.Burns Bog regulates water as well. The bog prevents flooding, maintains cool water temperatures in nearby rivers, holds water, and releases water in dry conditions. Burns Bog is an estuarine bog since it is situated at the mouth of the Fraser River and next to the Pacific Ocean. It is the only estuarine raised peat bog formed in a marine west coast climate.

Cortinarius caperatus

Cortinarius caperatus, commonly known as the gypsy mushroom, is an edible mushroom of the genus Cortinarius found in northern regions of Europe and North America. It was known as Rozites caperata for many years before genetic studies revealed that it belonged to the genus Cortinarius. The fruit bodies appear in autumn in coniferous and beech woods as well as heathlands in late summer and autumn. The ochre-coloured cap is up to 10 cm (4 in) across and has a fibrous surface. The clay-colored gills are attached to the stipe under the cap, and the stipe is whitish with a whitish ring. The flesh has a mild smell and flavor.

Popular with mushroom foragers, C. caperatus is picked seasonally in throughout Europe. Although mild-tasting and highly regarded, the mushrooms are often infested with maggots. In central Europe, old specimens could be confused with the poisonous Inocybe erubescens in summer. Fruiting bodies of C. caperatus have been found to bioaccumulate mercury and radioactive isotopes of caesium.

Empodisma minus

Empodisma minus, commonly known as (lesser) wire rush or spreading rope-rush, is a perennial evergreen belonging to the southern-hemisphere family of monocotyledons called the Restionaceae. The Latin name Empodisma minus translates to “tangle-foot” “small”. E. minus is found from Queensland to South Australia, Tasmania and throughout New Zealand south of 38 ° latitude, or the central north island. Its current conservation status is “Least concerned”.. In 2012 the new species Empodisma robustum was described in New Zealand, with what was previously described as E. minus from the lowland raised bogs of Waikato and Northland now being re-classified as E. robustum . E. minus remains an important peatformer in the south of New Zealand and in high altitude peatlands.

Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve

Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve is a national nature reserve (NNR) which straddles the border between England and Wales, near Whixall and Ellesmere in Shropshire, England and Bettisfield in Wrexham County Borough, Wales. It comprises three peat bogs, Bettisfield Moss, Fenn's Moss and Whixall Moss. With Wem Moss (also an NNR) and Cadney Moss, they are collectively a Site of Special Scientific Interest called The Fenn’s, Whixall, Bettisfield, Wem & Cadney Moss Complex and form Britain’s third-largest lowland raised bog, covering 2,388 acres (966 ha). The reserve is part of the Midland Meres and Mosses, an Important Plant Area which was declared a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1997. It is also a European Special Area of Conservation.

The mosses form an ombrotrophic raised bog, since the only source of water is from rainfall. Peat is formed when the remains of living plants, particularly Sphagnum, decompose in conditions where there is little oxygen, resulting in layers of peat up to 26 feet (7.9 m) thick in places, although this has been greatly reduced by commercial harvesting of the peat in many areas. In their natural state, such mosses form a dome of peat which can be up to 33 feet (10 m) higher than the surrounding surface, but the domes collapsed as a result of the drainage ditches created to allow harvesting to take place. Three major enclosures of the mosses have taken place, the first as a result of a voluntary agreement signed in 1704, and ratified by the High Court of Chancery in 1710, when opposition prevented the original plans from being carried out. Two Parliamentary enclosures, each authorised by an Act of Parliament were implemented in 1775 on Fenn's Moss and in 1823 on Whixall Moss. Both resulted in common rights being removed, and gave the landlords powers which paved the way for the subsequent commercial exploitation of the mosses.

In the early 1800s, the Ellesmere Canal Company built a canal across the southern edge of Whixall Moss. The engineers realised that maintenance would be required, to prevent the formation from sinking into the bog, and a gang of navvies, known as the Whixall Moss Gang, were employed continuously from 1804 to the early 1960s, to keep building up the banks of the canal, now renamed the Llangollen Canal. In the 1960s, the engineering issues were solved, when steel piling was used to underpin this section. The Oswestry, Ellesmere and Whitchurch Railway also planned to cross the mosses, despite being ridiculed by the Great Western Railway for believing that such a thing was possible. They built their line across the north-western edge of Fenn's Moss in 1862, having cut drains in late 1861, and then put layers of heather, wooden faggots and sand on the formation, to allow it to float on the peat. Trains ran from 1862 until the 1960s, without sinking into the mire.

Commercial cutting of peat began in 1851, and a series of six peat works were built over the years, as companies came and went. In order to extract the peat, a network of 2 ft (610 mm) gauge tramways were used, with wagons pulled by horses. The first internal combustion locomotive was bought in 1919, to replace the horses, and three more locomotives were purchased in 1967 and 1968, but did not last long, as the tramway ceased to be used in 1970, to be replaced by Dexta tractors pulling trailers. Mechanised peat cutters were also introduced in 1968. By this time, all of the harvested peat was sold through the retail chain Woolworths, for use in horticulture. The Hanmer Estate, owners of Fenn's Moss, quadrupled the rents in 1989, and the existing operation was bought out by Croxden Horticultural Products. They geared up to extract much larger volumes of peat, to meet the increased rents, but opposition to using peat was increasing, and in late December 1990, the leases were bought by the Nature Conservancy Council, bringing an end to commercial peat cutting. Since then, the mosses have been managed by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, who have blocked up drainage ditches and removed scrub, allowing water levels to rise, and the ombrotrophic bog to re-establish itself. Circular waymarked trails have been created through some areas of Fenn's and Whixall Mosses, and on Bettisfield Moss, to allow the nature reserve to be appreciated by visitors.


Glenullin was previously a rural area but has now expanded to become a small village in a valley between the villages of Garvagh, Swatragh and Dungiven, and lies in the borough of Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The nearest city is Derry which is 27 miles away. 'The Glen', as it is often known, is not an officially recognised administrative division but there is a strong local identity and an active community sector. Although the area has few amenities, the local Primary school, St Patrick's & St Joseph's Federated Primary School, and St Joseph's Catholic Church have particular prominence in the life of Glenullin.

Kopuatai Peat Dome

The Kopuatai Peat Dome is a large peatland complex located in the North Island of New Zealand and consists of two raised domes, one in the north the other in the south. These are up to three meters higher at the center than at the edge. The 10,201 hectares (25,210 acres) wetland contains the largest intact raised bog in New Zealand and was listed under the Ramsar Convention in 1989 as a Wetland of International Importance. Most of the wetland is 'ombrotrophic' meaning it receives water and nutrient inputs solely from rain and is hydrologically isolated from the surrounding canals and rivers.. Locally, a popular misconception persists that water flows from the nearby Piako river into the bog and that the wetland acts as a significant store for floodwater.


Minerotrophic soils and vegetation receive their water supply mainly from streams or springs. This water has flowed over or through rocks or other minerals, often acquiring dissolved chemicals which raise the nutrient levels and reduce the acidity. If these chemicals include chemical bases such as calcium or magnesium ions, the water is referred to as base-rich and is neutral or alkaline.

In contrast to minerotrophic environments, ombrotrophic environments get their water mainly from precipitation, and so are very low in nutrients and more acidic.


A mire (or quagmire) is a wetland type, dominated by living, peat-forming plants. Mires arise because of incomplete decomposition of organic matter, usually litter from vegetation, due to water-logging and subsequent anoxia. All types of mires share the common characteristic of being saturated with water at least seasonally with actively forming peat, while having its own set of vegetation and organisms. Like coral reefs, mires are unusual landforms in that they derive mostly from biological rather than physical processes, and can take on characteristic shapes and surface patterning.

A quagmire is a floating (quaking) mire, bog or any peatland being in a stage of hydrosere or hydrarch (hydroseral) succession, resulting in pond-filling yields underfoot. Ombrotrophic types of quagmire may be called quaking bog (quivering bog). Minerotrophic types can be named with the term quagfen.There are four types of mire: bog, fen, marsh and swamp. A bog is a mire that due to its location relative to the surrounding landscape obtains most of its water from rainfall (ombrotrophic), while a fen is located on a slope, flat, or depression and gets most of its water from soil- or groundwater (minerotrophic). Thus while a bog is always acidic and nutrient-poor, a fen may be slightly acidic, neutral, or alkaline, and either nutrient-poor or nutrient-rich. Although marshes are wetlands within which vegetation is rooted in mineral soil, some marshes form shallow peat deposits: these should be considered mires. Swamps are characterised by their forest canopy and, like fens, are typically of higher pH and nutrient availability than bogs. Some bogs and fens can support limited shrub or tree growth on hummocks.

The formation of mires today is primarily controlled by climatic conditions, such as precipitation and temperature, although terrain relief is a major factor, as water-logging occurs more easily on flatter ground. However, there is a growing anthropogenic influence in the accumulation of peat and peatlands around the world.Topographically, mires elevate the ground surface above the original topography. Mires can reach considerable heights above the underlying mineral soil or bedrock: peat depths of above 10 m have been commonly recorded in temperate regions (many temperate and most boreal mires were removed by ice sheets in the last Ice Age), and above 25 m in tropical regions.[7] When the absolute decay rate in the catotelm (the lower, water-saturated zone of a mire) matches the rate of input of new peat into the catotelm, the mire will stop growing in height.[8] A simplistic calculation, using typical values for a Sphagnum bog of 1 mm new peat added per year and 0.0001 proportion of the catotelm decaying per year, gives a maximum height of 10 m. More advanced analyses incorporate expectable nonlinear rates of catotelm decay.

For botanists and ecologists, the term "peatland" is a more general term for any terrain dominated by peat to a depth of at least 30 cm (12 in), even if it has been completely drained (i.e., a peatland can be dry, but a mire by definition must be actively forming peat).

Muddus National Park

Muddus is a national park in northern Sweden. It is situated in the province Lapland, with its largest part in the Gällivare Municipality. Furthermore, it belongs to the largely untouched UNESCO World Heritage classified Laponian area.

Natural scenes include the old-growth forest with large trees, large boggy grounds, and deep ravines in between the rocks. Sweden's oldest known pine tree is also located here. It has been estimated to be at least 710 years old, as it was found to have withstood a forest fire in 1413.


Mycula is a monotypic genus of European dwarf spiders containing the single species, Mycula mossakowskii. It was first described by H.-B. Schikora in 1994, and has only been found in Austria, Germany, and Italy.

Peat swamp forest

Peat swamp forests are tropical moist forests where waterlogged soil prevents dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing. Over time, this creates a thick layer of acidic peat. Large areas of these forests are being logged at high rates.

Peat swamp forests are typically surrounded by lowland rain forests on better-drained soils, and by brackish or salt-water mangrove forests near the coast.

Tropical peatlands, which coexist with swamp forests within the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome, store and accumulate vast amounts of carbon as soil organic matter - much more than natural forests contain. Their stability has important implications for climate change; they are among the largest near-surface reserves of terrestrial organic carbon. Peat swamp forests, which have ecological importance, are one of the most threatened, yet least studied and most poorly understood biotypes.

Since the 1970s, peat swamp forest deforestation and drainage have increased exponentially. In addition, El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) drought and large-scale fires are accelerating peatland devastation. This destruction enhances the decomposition of soil and organic matter, increasing the carbon release to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. This phenomenon suggests that tropical peatlands have already become a large carbon-dioxide source, but related data and information is limited.Tropical peat swamp forests are home to thousands of animals and plants, including many rare and critically endangered species such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger, whose habitats are threatened by peatland deforestation.

Raised bog

Raised bogs, also called ombrotrophic bogs (ombrotrophe Moore), are acidic, wet habitats that are poor in mineral salts and are home to flora and fauna that can cope with such extreme conditions. Raised bogs, unlike fens, are exclusively fed by precipitation (ombrotrophy) and from mineral salts introduced from the air. They thus represent a special type of bog, hydrologically, ecologically and in terms of their development history, in which the growth of peat mosses over centuries or millennia plays a decisive role. They also differ in character from blanket bogs which are much thinner and occur in wetter, cloudier climatic zones.Raised bogs are very threatened by peat cutting and pollution by mineral salts from the surrounding land (due to agriculture and industry). There are hardly any raised bogs today that are still living and growing. The last great raised bog regions are found in western Siberia and Canada.

Stordalen (Sweden)

Stordalen mire (elevation 351 m) lies in the subarctic region in northernmost Sweden. It is located 10 km east of the town of Abisko close to Lake Torneträsk. It is a 25 ha palsa mire, which is common in the discontinuous permafrost zone. The mire has two major topographical features: elevated palsas and depressions. The palsas are dry, ombrotrophic plateaus (or hummocks) with permafrost cores that raise the peat surface above its surroundings that is the wet minerotrophic depressions, largely permafrost

free and water saturated. The small-scale topography is often very patchy in its structure, creating an environment where localities nearby each other have distinct differences in moisture, permafrost and nutrient status, which creates differences in vegetation types. Of these subhabitats the vegetation in the dry parts consists mainly of mosses, lichens and dwarf shrubs, whereas the wet parts are dominated by sphagnum or tall graminoids. A peat layer up to 3 m deep covers most of the area and is an indication of a net carbon accumulation over the past 5000 years. In the areas underlying by permafrost the active layer reaches a thickness of about 60 cm in the late summer. The mire experiences thermokarst erosion, with the ongoing permafrost thawing that leads to degradation and collapse of the palsa structure, converting it into the wetter surface types. To the east the mire is bordered by the shallow Lake Villasjön (max depth 1.3 m) whereas it is in general largely surrounded by mountain birch forest.

String bog

A string bog or strong mire is a bog consisting of slightly elevated ridges and islands, with woody plants, alternating with flat, wet sedge mat areas. String bogs occur on slightly sloping surfaces, with the ridges at right angles to the direction of water flow. They are an example of patterned vegetation.

Known as "aapa" moore (from Finnish aapasuo) or strangemoore in Northern Europe.

A string bog has a pattern of narrow (2–3m wide), low (<1m high) ridges oriented at right angles to the direction of drainage with wet depressions or pools occurring between the ridges. The water and peat are very low in nutrients because the water has been derived from other ombrotrophic wetlands, which receive all of their water and nutrients from precipitation, rather than from streams or springs. The peat thickness is >1m.

String bogs are features associated with periglacial climates, where the temperature results in long periods of subzero temperatures. The active layer exists as frozen ground for long periods and melts in the spring thaw. Slow melting results in characteristic mass movement processes and features associated with specific periglacial environments.


The Teufelsmoor is a region of bog and moorland north of Bremen, Germany. It forms a large part of the district of Osterholz, and extends into the neighbouring districts of Rotenburg (Gnarrenburg municipality).

Torronsuo National Park

Torronsuo National Park (Finnish: Torronsuon kansallispuisto) is a national park in the Tavastia Proper region of Finland. Even before its declaration as a national park in 1990, the near-natural state swamp area was a protected area. Its area is 25.5 square kilometres (9.85 sq mi).

The park area is a typical ombrotrophic raised bog – a thick turf layer with its middle part raising above its edges. The turf layer is one of the thickest measured among Finnish bogs, locally extending to 12 metres (39 ft).

Torronsuo is valuable for its birdlife and butterfly species. Roughly a hundred species nest in the area. Part of the birds and insects are species that typically live in the northern areas, and they aren't seen much elsewhere in southern Finland.

Classification systems


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