What, exactly, are peat bogs? They develop when the water at the ground surface is acidic, either because the ground water is acidic or is entirely from rain. When rain fed, bogs are of the ombrotrophic class. These very sensitive habitats have outflows that are brown, as they are full of tannin from dissolved peat. Peat bogs are delicate environments that are perpetually at risk, and they contribute to great areas of biodiversity.
The required climate for a bog is in the colder and temperate ranges, which applies to the northern hemisphere. Russia has the world’s largest wetlands and bogs in the Western Siberian Lowlands. These bogs cover over 600,000 square kilometers.
Sphagnum bogs are widespread throughout northern Europe, including Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Northern Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, Canada and Alaska, has bogs that are called muskeg. There are also bogs in Patagonia and the Falkland Islands of the southern hemisphere. There are also tropical bogs, with Kalimantan having areas, but these are tropically forested and might actually be classified as acidic swamps.
Peat bogs provide a major source of dried peat fuel and soil amendment in the form of moss peat or sphagnum peat. The peat helps to retain moisture, to provide nutrients to the soil, and serves as mulch. The peat fires are used to add smoky flavor to the barley that is used in making Scotch Whiskey.
Bog damage and destruction is on the rise. The world’s largest bog, in Siberia is thawing for the first time in 11,000 years. Many of the English bogs are damaged or destroyed, so it is notable the many of the bogs listed below are national preserves of one sort or another.
Ballynahone bog of the raised bog type
Clara bog of the raised bog type
Bog of Allen peat bog
Max Bog biological site
Moseley bog nature preserve
Yanal bog biological site
Matley bog ancient woodland bog
(Scotland and Wales)
Portlethen Moss nature reserve, Scotland
Red Moss of Netherley bog, Scotland
Cors Caron peat bog, Wales
Cors Fochno peat bog, Wales
Crymlyn bog nature reserve, Wales
Lutt-Witt Moor bog
Grobes Torfmoor raised peat bog
(Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and Estonia)
Viru Bog at Lahemaa National park, Estonia
Hirvisuo bog, Finland
Nigula Bog nature reserve, Estonia
Modravaske Slate bog, Czech Republic
(United States and Canada)
Strangmoor bog national landmark, Michigan
Big Bog State Recreation Area, Minnesota
The Bog Garden nature preserve and botanical garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
Burns Bog the largest domed bog in North America
Kennedy River Bog Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada
Spruce Hole Bog, New Hampshire
Tannersville Cranberry Bog, a sphagnum bog, Pennsylvania
Tom S. Cooperrider-Kent Bog State Nature Preserve, 42 acres, Ohio
Pinhook Bog, Indiana
Volo Bog, Illinois
Johnville Bog and Forest Park, Quebec
Saco Heath Preserve, Maine
The world’s largest peat bog is in Siberia