What are peatlands?

Peatlands are terrestrial ecosystems characterized by a constant presence of water. Water doesn’t allow organic matter to decompose, leading to a surplus of matter that will then form peat. In Europe, you can recognise peatland by the presence of Sphagnum mosses, sedges and shrubs as the prevalent vegetation.

Two types of bogs

Two main types of bogs can be found in Ireland: Raised bog or Blanked bog.

Raised bogs occur mainly in the midlands. They are recognisable because they are dome-shaped and they occupy a former lake or depression. Rainfall maintains this type of bogs and therefore determines their acidity. The rainfall is retained by peat, which acts like a sponge.

Raised bogs find their origins in shallow lakes or depressions. These environments got eventually filled with organic matter and silt, and peat began to form. The new kind of environment (fen) allowed bog-mosses species to thrive and increase the amount of peat until the vegetation was separated from the groundwater. The only access to water was represented by rainfall. This is incredibly poor in nutrients and determined the creation of such acid conditions, typical of bogs. The whole process took thousands of years.

On the other hand, blanket bogs are very well developed in Ireland, where we can find two types of blanket bogs: Atlantic Blanket bog and Mountain Blanket Bog. The first one can be found from sea level to an altitude of 200m, while the second one from 200m on. Both occur on the west coast of the Country and were formed due to wet and cool conditions.



raised bog formation