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The Vegetation of Alberta: II. The Swamp, Moor and Bog Forest Vegetation of Central Alberta

Francis J. Lewis, Eleanor S. Dowding and E. H. Moss
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 16, No. 1 (Feb., 1928), pp. 19-70
DOI: 10.2307/2255842
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2255842
Page Count: 66
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The Vegetation of Alberta: II. The Swamp, Moor and Bog Forest Vegetation of Central Alberta
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Abstract

The types of swamp, moor and bog forest vegetation in three of the phytogeographical regions of Central Alberta have been described. The areas lie in morainic basins of varying size, and the blue glacial clay under the peat deposits contains numerous mosses and the seeds of water plants inhabiting the lakes before the formation of the low-moors and high-moors which now occupy these basins. The pH of the low-moors varies from 5.0 to 6.5 and the high-moors 4.0 to 5.5. Analyses of the clays and the free water in types of swamps, low-moors and high-moors are given. The vegetation is described from a regional point of view under the three climatic climax formations characteristic of Central and Northern Alberta, viz., the Cordilleran Forest, Northern Forest, and Poplar Parkland. In the Cordilleran Forest area the three most widely distributed formations banding lake margins are low-moors (Cariceta), birch bogs and bog forest. Centrifugal growth of Sphagnum-Andromeda (the earliest association of the Sphagnum succession) is rare, and has been met with in only one basin. Birch bogs are developed as primary associations in large deep basins where much of the ground is covered with Hypnum revolvens with a flora in which Ericaceae are absent. Larch is associated with the birch, the latter usually being confined to the ridges formed by the long horizontal roots of the larch. The floras of the ridges and the flat depressions between are strongly contrasted. Mature bog forest formed of old black spruce with a floor of Hypnum crista-castrensis L. and Hylocomium splendens and a scanty non-ericaceous flora forms the climax of the bog succession. The general succession in the Northern Forest resembles in broad features that of the Cordilleran Forest. Marginal muskegs encroaching on central low-moor (Cariceta) are frequent and are present as primary successions in some basins, Sphagnum spreading centripetally into the Caricetum. Marginal muskegs are also present as a secondary succession, and in such cases mounds of the original high-moor are often found scattered over the secondary low-moor; their survival being due to irregular burning. Small muskegs in which the original Sphagnum-ericaceous vegetation has entirely disappeared occur near the southern boundary of the Northern Forest. White spruce and poplar have occupied these areas. In the Parkland reed-swamp and low-moors are usually associated with sloughs and lakes. Swamps are formed of various associations of rushes, sedges and grasses, while low-moors may be dominated by Cariceta, Saliceta or Gramineta. The high-moors are generally at the Ledum moor stage and examples of climax bog forest are rare. The succession of associations within the various formations are described, and the effects of burning, drainage, mowing, grazing and other factors are discussed. The destruction of high-moors by the influx of springs rich in calcium salts is described, and the activity of algae acting under such conditions has resulted in extensive mineral deposits ranging as high as 80 per cent. calcium carbonate.

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