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Wetlands for Nature and People

Last changes: 2019-08-22

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Bog woodland and swamp forests

In a natural swamp forest with hillock-like root elevations and wet depressions diverse flora and fauna are found. Species adapted to drier conditions live on hillocks, species adjusted to wet conditions – in the depressions. Photo: Agnese Priede.
 
Wetland forests are diverse, rich in species, accumulate the waters and play the role of natural filters. Bog woodlands are mainly found in the marginal zone of raised bogs, mostly pines, rarely deciduous trees predominate. Swamp forests and wet alluvial forests are dominated by deciduous trees – mostly black alder and downy birch, in alluvial forests the broadleaves, e.g. ash, oak, elm and other tree species can be found. The ground layer is usually rich in herbaceous species. Large diversity of mosses, lichens, fungi and small invertebrates can be found. Sometimes spring discharges form wet hollows, creating a nutrient-rich water supply to the forest environment and attracting species - wet forest specialists.
Drainage in such forests causes depression and decomposition of peat layer, destruction of the hillock-like roots of trees typical for swamp forests. The formerly lively wet hollows dry up, the moisture-loving species vanish.
Bog woodland and swamp forests are fragile habitats protected on a European scale under the European Union Habitats Directive.

Drained swamp forest. The peat has dropped down opening naked roots of trees. Wet depressions have become dry, and the species adjusted to wetness have vanished. Photo: Agnese Priede.

 

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