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Peatlands of Ohio and the Southern Great Lakes Region

Environmental Studies, Forthcoming, Nature, Regional Interest

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Description

Exploring and appreciating the fascinating ecosystems of bogs and fens

Peatlands—and specifically “bogs”—have long been a source of fascination for humans, and these amazing places are truly living relics of the Ice Age. More recently, bogs have come to be regarded as complex and fascinating wetland ecosystems. Peatlands of Ohio and the Southern Great Lakes Region focuses on the sphagnum peat bogs and rich fens of the lower Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, southern Michigan, and the glaciated northern corners of Pennsylvania.

The peatlands of today are products of the Wisconsinan Glaciation, when peatland plants originating in northern latitudes migrated southward in a wide band preceding the glacial wall of ice. After thousands of years, the glacier’s retreat severely diminished the sites with the very special environmental conditions needed to sustain these ecosystems.

However, in a few sites, kettlehole lakes and cold alkaline hillside seeps and springs enabled remnants of peatland vegetation to survive to this day. Guy L. Denny, with accompanying photographs by Gary Meszaros, closely examines this habitat and its special environmental constraints, the geological and climatological origins, and the flora and fauna unique to the bogs and rich fens of this region. As readers will discover as they learn about places like Cranberry Bog in Michigan or Triangle Lake in Ohio, kettlehole sphagnum peat bogs and rich fens are not only essential places to protect, but they are amazing sites to explore, discover new plants, and observe the beauty and splendor of the natural world.

Authors

Guy L. Denny is a retired chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. A former director of the Ohio Biological Survey, he is also a past president of the Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves Association.

Gary Meszaros’s images have appeared in numerous nature magazines and books. He is the coauthor of and has contributed photographs to five books published by Kent State University Press, including Native Fishes of Ohio and Wild Ohio.