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Station 09

How peat bogs grow

Peat moss

Peat mosses are the basis of raised bogs growing. These rootless mosses grow towards the sunlight and all those tips that aren’t touched by the sun begin to gradually decay and form peat. In this way a bog grows in height by about 1 mm per year. It's difficult to differentiate between the different types of peat moss but there are three broad groups: large leaved Sphagnum (Cymbifolia), middle sized leaves (Acutifolia), and a small leaved variant (Cuspidata).

While the large and mid-sized peat mosses grow when it rains and do not use water reserves, small leaved variants continue to grow while submerged and are useless for agricultural or horticultural use. The loose structure of the large and mid-sized peat mosses are valued by horticulturalists.

Peat Sensory Station

Everything is interesting in theory but it doesn’t replace the actual experience of doing it yourself and getting to understand the bog with all of your senses. This is exactly what the Peat Sensory Station (Number 9) is for. Over just a few wooden steps there is a specially created spot with a railing, which also enables older people to use it. It is a fascinating experience to sink into the bog for just a few moments. For those who are timid perhaps a few steps just at the edge will suffice. The water sodden ground gives way and then springs back and seems to be in constant movement.

The sensory station offers all visitors a singular experience that teaches respect of this unique habitat. So have fun in the bogs and don’t forget to take your shoes off!


Additional Links | Project website of the University of Greifswald with Information regarding goals and objectives of research about peat moss cultivation with many bibliography and publication references.

Additional Articles

Die Torfmoose | Detailed article on the different types of peat moss on the website of the Ökologische Schutzstation Steinhuder Meer e.V.

Moor und Torf | Article with statistics and additional information on distribution and use of moors and peat in Germany on the website of the Landesamt für Bergbau, Energie und Geologie, Hannover

Additional Media

DVD: Das Hochmoor. Wachstum, Zerstörung, Regeneration. 2008. FWU.

Franke, Werner; Hugenberg, Gerd; Bechtluft, Horst H.; Wiborg, Klaus; Kramm, Dr. Erich: Moor im Emsland. Sögel (1979), ISBN: 3-88077-101-X

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