In the Adirondacks, there are two types of peatlands: bogs and fens. These habitats are incredibly dependent on year-round moisture and low temperatures. There are an estimated 50,000 acres of bogs and fens in the Adirondacks. Bogs are acidic, nutrient poor, and devoid of much bacteria. Because of these conditions, few species of plants can survive or thrive in this habitat and most plant growth is typically stunted.
Bogs are dominated by sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum spp.), sedges, and shrubs in the Ericaceae (Heath) family. Decomposition in bogs is incredibly slow, resulting in layers of hundred-year-old (and sometimes older) sphagnum. Because bogs are highly acidic, with most of their nutrients locked up in semi-decayed plant materials, they are not congenial environments for plants and animals.
Tamaracks (Larix laricina), black spruce (Picea mariana), seasonal orchids, and carnivorous plants can be found interlaced with the shrubs and mosses.
Birders travel to our bog at the VIC to search for Gray Jays (Perisoreus canadensis), Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus), Palm Warblers (Setophaga palmarum), and Lincoln’s Sparrows (Melospiza lincolnii). Snakes, frogs, and a variety of insects live comfortably here.
To explore a bog at the VIC, visit our Boreal Life or Heron Marsh trails.