Oxford scholarship online. Oxford Scholarship Online. Oxford : Oxford University Press Physical description. Description based upon print version of record. Includes bibliographical references and index. Other format: Also available in printed form. English Description based on print version record. Peatland plants. Peatland ecology.
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Jeglum, J. Peatland ecology Peatland plants Peatlands. Bennett, Keith D. Related item. Electronic books. Internet Resources. Related Internet Resources. Summary Peatlands form important landscape elements in many parts of the world and play significant roles for biodiversity and global carbon balance. This new edition has been fully revised and updated, documenting the latest advances in areas such as microbial processes and relations between biological processes and hydrology.
As well as thoroughly referencing the latest research, the authors expose a rich older literature where an immense repository of natural history has accumulated. The Biology of Peatlands starts with an overview of the main peatland types marsh, swamp, fen, and bog , before exa. Back to results.
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British Library. Some Scotch whisky distilleries, such as those on Islay , use peat fires to dry malted barley. The drying process takes about 30 hours. This gives the whiskies a distinctive smoky flavour, often called "peatiness". Normal Highland whiskies have a peat level of up to 30 ppm, and the whiskies on Islay usually have up to 50 ppm. In rare types like the Octomore ,  the whisky can have more than ppm of phenol.
Scotch Ales can also use peat roasted malt, imparting a similar smoked flavor. In Sweden, farmers use dried peat to absorb excrement from cattle that are wintered indoors. The most important property of peat is retaining moisture in container soil when it is dry while preventing the excess of water from killing roots when it is wet. However, it is recommended to treat peat thermally, e.
Peat is sometimes used in freshwater aquaria. It is seen most commonly in soft water or blackwater river systems such as those mimicking the Amazon River basin. In addition to being soft in texture and therefore suitable for demersal bottom-dwelling species such as Corydoras catfish, peat is reported to have a number of other beneficial functions in freshwater aquaria.
It softens water by acting as an ion exchanger ; it also contains substances that are beneficial for plants, and for the reproductive health of fishes. Peat can prevent algae growth and kill microorganisms.
Peat often stains the water yellow or brown due to the leaching of tannins. Peat is used in water filtration, such as for the treatment of septic tank effluent and for urban runoff.
Peat is widely used in balneotherapy the use of bathing to treat disease. Many traditional spa treatments include peat as part of peloids. Such health treatments have an enduring tradition in European countries including Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria.
Some of these old spas date back to the 18th century and are still active today. The most common types of peat application in balneotherapy are peat muds , poultices , and suspension baths. Authors Rydin and Jeglum in Biology of Habitats described the concept of peat archives, a phrase coined by influential peatland scientist Harry Godwin in In a peat profile there is a fossilized record of changes over time in the vegetation, pollen, spores, animals from microscopic to the giant elk , and archaeological remains that have been deposited in place, as well as pollen, spores and particles brought in by wind and weather.
These remains are collectively termed the peat archives. In Quaternary Palaeoecology , first published in , Birks and Birks described how paleoecological studies "of peat can be used to reveal what plant communities were present locally and regionally , what time period each community occupied, how environmental conditions changed, and how the environment affected the ecosystem in that time and place. Scientists continue to compare modern mercury Hg accumulation rates in bogs with historical natural-archives records in peat bogs and lake sediments to estimate the potential human impacts on the biogeochemical cycle of mercury, for example.
Peat "hags" are a form of erosion that occurs at the sides of gullies that cut into the peat or, sometimes, in isolation. Once the peat is exposed in these ways, it is prone to further erosion by wind, water, and livestock. The result is overhanging vegetation and peat. Hags are too steep and unstable for vegetation to establish itself, so they continue to erode unless restorative action is taken.
The distinctive ecological conditions of peat wetlands provide a habitat for distinctive fauna and flora. For example, whooping cranes nest in North American peatlands, while Siberian cranes nest in the West Siberian peatland. Such habitats also have many species of wild orchids and carnivorous plants. It takes centuries for a peat bog to recover from disturbance. For more on biological communities, see wetland , bog or fen. The world's largest peat bog is located in Western Siberia.
It is the size of France and Germany combined. As the permafrost melts, it could release billions of tonnes of methane gas into the atmosphere.
The Biology of Peatlands, 2e
The peatlands' contribution to long-term fluctuations in these atmospheric gases has been a matter of considerable debate. One of the characteristics for peat is the bioaccumulations of metals often concentrated in the peat. Accumulated mercury is of significant environmental concern. Large areas of organic wetland peat soils are currently drained for agriculture, forestry, and peat extraction. This process is taking place all over the world. This not only destroys the habitat of many species but also heavily fuels climate change.
It decomposes and turns into carbon dioxide CO 2 , which is released into the atmosphere. This increase has particularly taken place in developing countries, of which Indonesia, China, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea are the fastest-growing top emitters. Peat has a high carbon content and can burn under low moisture conditions. Once ignited by the presence of a heat source e. These smouldering fires can burn undetected for very long periods of time months, years, and even centuries propagating in a creeping fashion through the underground peat layer.
Despite the damage that the burning of raw peat can cause, bogs are naturally subject to wildfires and depend on the wildfires to keep woody competition from lowering the water table and shading out many bog plants. Several families of plants including the carnivorous Sarracenia trumpet pitcher , Dionaea Venus flytrap , Utricularia bladderworts and non-carnivorous plants such as the sandhills lily , toothache grass and many species of orchid are now threatened and in some cases endangered from the combined forces of human drainage, negligence, and absence of fire.
Biology of Peatlands - Oxford Scholarship
It is estimated that in , peat and forest fires in Indonesia released between 0. These fires may be responsible for the acceleration in the increase in carbon dioxide levels since In North America, peat fires can occur during severe droughts throughout their occurrence, from boreal forests in Canada to swamps and fens in the subtropical southern Florida Everglades. The situation remained critical until the end of August In June , despite some forest fire prevention methods being put in place, peat fires  in the arctic emitted 50 megatonnes of CO2, which is equal to Sweden's total annual emissions.
The aim of this publication is to develop mechanisms that can balance the conflicting demands on the global peatland heritage, to ensure its wise use to meet the needs of humankind. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Accumulation of partially decayed vegetation.