The Great Bog’s of Ireland

 

“A farmer was digging up through some bog and found the body, it was fully preserved and probably over 100 years old.” Can you imagine something that would be able to fully preserve something such as a body for over 100 years? Bogs can. It is a naturally forming substance that exists throughout Ireland and plays a huge role in Ireland’s cultural history. A bog is approximately ninety percent water and ten percent turf and while it may not sound like a lot,  it takes centuries to become a substantial amount. It forms at around 1 millimeter per year. A bog is essentially thousands of years of old wood. There may be a lot of bogs but it is not unlimited. Bogs are all around Ireland and are used by nearly every farmer around the country. 

Ireland is an interesting country in the fact that it has a really small number of different habitats compared to other nations. Ireland has two main habitats that are vastly around the parts of rural Ireland – bog and limestone. The interesting concept between these two habitats are from how much they differ, a bog is highly acidic while a limestone habitat is not. pH level is the level of acidity in anything rated on a 1-14 scale, 1 being the most acidic, and 14 being the least acidic, and a 7 means that it is completely neutral. A bog usually rates under a 5 on the pH scale*, rendering it very acidic land which inhibits the growth of a lot of different types of fauna. Limestone habitats usually lay above a 6.5** on the pH scale, which represents a very neutral state or non-acidic land.

        Bogs can be separated into three different categories: typical bogs, fens, and tropical tree bogs. A typical bog, which I was able to see most of the time traveling around Ireland, is covered in what is known as bog moss. The fens are mostly filled with grass-like fauna. Lastly, the tropical tree bog is almost entirely just three remnants of tree remains known as peat which formed over thousands of years, which each bog also consists of.* Limestone has what is known as alkaline soil, which means it can have a high pH level, which also limits the various amounts of fauna to grow on the soil. Some shrubs such as evergreen shrubs, deciduous shrubs, and perennials can be grown on this soil well, but it is tough to grow many other species in these areas.

 

Sources:

*https://www.britannica.com/science/bog-wetland

**http://www.hortmag.com/headline/plants-for-alkaline-soil

http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/Soil/ChangingpHinSoil.pdf

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