Wetlands are very important ecosystems; they help filter water and mitigate flooding. There are four general types of wetlands in the United States; marshes, swamps, bogs, and fens. Similar to bogs, fens are a type of peatland that has been formed by retreating glaciers. Unlike a bog, which receives water exclusively from rainfall, fens get their water from both ground and surface water resulting in a less acidic environment compared to a bog. A less acidic environment causes the soil in fens to be richer in nutrients, which promotes greater plant growth.

In a bog, you will likely find moss, a few types of evergreen trees and some shrubs that can survive and tolerate the more acidic conditions in the soil. Fens, on the other hand, typically look like meadows with grassessedges, and wildflowers being the dominant plant types. The species of plants found in fens will differ by the region they are located in. Fens are found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere in places like Canada, the Rocky Mountains, and parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Here at SHADOW, we don’t have a fen but we do have a globally imperiled peat bog! Our bog is a western hemlock/sphagnum moss treed bog. To read more about SHADOW’s protected peat bog or fens, follow the links below: