Boreal peatlands and plant diversity: what’s there and why it matters
Locky, David A.
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Highlights • In the boreal region, knowledge of plant species diversity (richness and rarity) is low compared with other taxa such as birds and mammals. This is particularly true of peatlands, which have a higher proportion of characteristic species compared to upland ecosystems in the same region. • Peatlands influence biodiversity far beyond their borders by maintaining hydrological and microclimate features of adjacent areas and providing temporary habitats or refuges for upland species. • Although not yet commonly logged in western Canada, wooded moderate-rich fens and black spruce swamps may have stands of marketable timber. Research has shown that, compared to other peatland types, these types have significantly higher plant diversity. • Knowledge of plant diversity in peatlands can improve the development of effective forest management plans. What is currently known about plant diversity in peatlands could be integrated into forest management plans at the ecosite and ecoelement scales.