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. High peat bog, or moor, forms from plants that do not have contact with groundwater, but are totally dependent upon rainwater for growth. Bog-moss is the most important plant in this biotope. High peat bog can grow meters higher than its surroundings.

  • 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.

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

    Since the 10th century, the farmers started cultivating the land. By digging ditches, the groundwater level was lowered. Water flowed out of the bog and the bog settled. In addition, it became exposed to the air. The oxygen in the air caused the plants to rot.
    Settling and oxidation caused the bog surface to subside around two centimeters per year. Since drainage of the peat bog began, the bottom of the wadden region has subsided 5.5 meters. As a result, the land became more vulnerable for flooding. Lots of land was lost during tidal flood disasters due to this human intervention.