Oh, for peat’s sake

Yesterday Fillyjonk dropped a term I wasn’t familiar with, and of course I kicked into search mode, simply because I hate finding even the slightest crimp in my comprehension, and besides there was nothing about it in Technorati and I like to keep them busy.

Herewith, therefore, a brief bit about paludification:

Development and expansion of peatlands occur via two distinct processes: lake-filling and paludification. Lake-filling occurs in small lakes with minimal wave action, where gradual peat accumulation results in the development of a peat mat that can fill the basin or occur as a floating mat or grounded mat. Succession in lake-filled peatlands typically proceeds from lake to marsh to fen to bog to poor conifer swamp. Paludification is the blanketing of terrestrial systems (often forests) by the overgrowth of peatland vegetation. Paludified peatlands typically develop on flat areas (typically lakeplain) where peat builds vertically and spreads horizontally. The lateral expansion of peatland into forested systems can result in an increase in the water table and acidity and subsequent decreases in soil temperatures, nutrient availability, decomposition rates, canopy cover, growth rates, and seedling establishment. Paludification also results in a shift in species composition, with swamp conifers, especially black spruce, becoming more prevalent. For both lake-filling and paludification, peat accumulates above the water table, isolating the peatland from groundwater influence.

(From a Michigan State University article on poor conifer swamps. There are also, it seems, rich conifer swamps. Life is for learning.)

3 comments

  1. Michael Bates »

    17 February 2008 · 12:08 pm

    The word rang a bell, based on hours of my childhood spent staring at a lunar globe. There are three paludes on the moon: Palus Somni (the Marsh of Sleep), Palus Epidemiarum (the Marsh of Epidemics), and Palus Putredinis (the Marsh of Rot) — the latter of which would be a heckuva blog name.

  2. fillyjonk »

    17 February 2008 · 1:19 pm

    You could, of course, also think of “paludification” as “mission creep” of a bog. (Considering a line used in your post above this one.)

  3. McGehee »

    17 February 2008 · 4:42 pm

    “This pond is becoming paluded!”

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