Bog program

Michael.Chamberland (23274MJC@MSU.EDU)
Thu, 15 Dec 94 21:31 EST

Those of us in the North have seen the bog program on _The Nature of
This was an very educational program. Rather little on CP was presented.
In fact, the life and ecology of bogs was the subject of only a
quarter of the program. The rest of the show gave us the dirt on how
humans have interacted with and impacted with bogs. Early Europeans
cleared forests in Ireland. These areas grew back as bogs. People
harvested peat for hundreds of years to serve as fuel. Now Europe
continues to harvest peat on a tremendous scale, to be burned like
coal. Canada harvests peat mostly for the horticulture trade.
Scenes of peat bog devastation in Canada were terrible. First the bog
is drained. It is dried and all vegetation is stripped away. Several
inches of dry peat are then vacuumed up by harvesting tractors. What's
left is a flat dry peat desert, in some shots reaching to the horizon.
A technician for the peat industry says they leave enough of a peat-pack
for the sphagnum to re-establish and grow the bog back.
I'd hate to see what happens if a wind picks up before then.

The rest of the program dealt with the preserved artifacts in bogs, the
chemistry of bogs, bogs used for monitoring environmental changes, the
impact of flooding bogs when hydroelectric dams are built (how can a
bog be flooded, shouldn't it just float up? :-)
Many comparisons were made between bogs and rainforests, in terms of
biodiversity, carbon sinks, and their role as the Earth's "lungs".

The program dealt exclusively with boreal bogs, mostly of Canada, and
some of Europe. No mention of southern U.S. bogs. Not even a VFT

We saw Sarracenia purpurea and Drosera anglica featured. Was that
also a shot of D. rotundifolia closing on an insect? And did I catch
some yellow Utricularia flowers in one shot? Several orchid species
were shown.