Animal and vegetation patterns in natural and man-made bog pools: implications for restoration


Marc J. Mazerolle, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 12100 Beech Forest Road, Laurel, MD 20708-4017, U.S.A. E-mail:


1. Peatlands have suffered great losses following drainage for agriculture, forestry, urbanisation, or peat mining, near inhabited areas. We evaluated the faunal and vegetation patterns after restoration of a peatland formerly mined for peat. We assessed whether bog pools created during restoration are similar to natural bog pools in terms of water chemistry, vegetation structure and composition, as well as amphibian and arthropod occurrence patterns.

2. Both avian species richness and peatland vegetation cover at the site increased following restoration. Within bog pools, however, the vegetation composition differed between natural and man-made pools. The cover of low shrubs, Sphagnum moss, submerged, emergent and floating vegetation in man-made pools was lower than in natural pools, whereas pH was higher than in typical bog pools. Dominant plant species also differed between man-made and natural pools.

3. Amphibian tadpoles, juveniles and adults occurred more often in man-made pools than natural bog pools. Although some arthropods, including Coleoptera bog specialists, readily colonised the pools, their abundance was two to 26 times lower than in natural bog pools. Plant introduction in bog pools, at the stocking densities we applied, had no effect on the occurrence of most groups.

4. We conclude that our restoration efforts were partially successful. Peatland-wide vegetation patterns following restoration mimicked those of natural peatlands, but 4 years were not sufficient for man-made pools to fully emulate the characteristics of natural bog pools.