Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Search in the Encyclopedia

Dieren en planten

Water en land

Landforms   Peat bog   

Mens en Milieu

Bog moss, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

Peat bog

A peat bog is an accumulation of partially degraded vegetation. When the remains of plants and trees accumulate on the bottom of a pond, a so-called fen is created. Moors form from plants that don't have contact with groundwater, but are totally dependent upon rainwater for growth. Bog-moss is the most important plant in this biotope. Moors can grow meters higher than its surroundings. Five thousand to 1800 years ago, a large part of the present wadden region was covered by bogs.

  • Lots of peat
    Disappearance of the peat bog , Ecomare

    After the last glacial period, not only did the sea level rise but the groundwater level rose as well. Large marshes formed along the coast. Bog-moss flourished and eventually formed a thick pack of peat. The peat bog region was immense: around 1700 B.C., half of the Netherlands was made up of peat. The present-day wadden region was mainly peat bog in those days.

  • Human intervention
    Remains of peat on the beach, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Since the 10th century, farmers started cultivating bogs. By digging ditches, the groundwater level was lowered. Water flowed out of the bog and the bog settled. That means that the layer of peat collapsed. By lowering the water level, the peat became exposed to the air. The oxygen caused the plants to rot.
    The bog dropped at a rate of around 2 centimeters per year. The land surface of the wadden region has subsided 5.5 meters. As a result, the area became more vulnerable for flooding.