Bogs are a specialized wetland type found on saturated, acid peat soils that are low in nutrients. They support a unique assemblage of trees, low shrubs and herbs growing on mats of sphagnum moss. In Wisconsin, most bogs are found north of the vegetation tension zone.
Coniferous bogs are similar to open bogs in plant community composition and structure except that mature trees (dbh greater than 6 inches) of black spruce and/or tamarack are the dominant species growing on the sphagnum moss mat. Sphagnum moss is the dominant groundlayer species. Sedges, orchids, and pitcher plants that have endured the shaded conditions are often present, along with the heath family (Ericaceae) shrubs.
Black spruce and the heath family shrubs are characteristic not only of acid peats such as those associated with sphagnum moss mats, whereas tamarack can grow in calcareous peats as well, such as those of northern white cedar swamps.
The Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory recognizes this community type with the name northern wet forest. Click here to read the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resourcesí community descriptions for these community types.
The wetland plant community description in italics above is excerpted from Eggers, S.D. and D.M. Reed. 1997. Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin. (2nd Edition). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul, MN.