Mires with attributes similar to the patterned fens of boreal continental regions have recently been reported from northern Scotland. This paper reports on the vegetation and water chemistry of 18 of these sites. Most of the 18 mires displayed remarkable uniformity in their vegetation, with Carex lasiocarpa being a main character species. Major variation of plant communities is associated with microtopographical niches, similar to those found on ombrotrophic mire systems and secondarily with pH and conductivity of surface waters. Nine vegetation noda are described and compared with existing phytosociological associations and National Vegetation Classification (NVC) communities. The dominant Sphagnum ‐ Carex communities are intermediate between the Oxycocco‐Sphagnetea and the Caricion lasiocarpae and are thus difficult to assign to existing associations or to NVC communities. Although there is a large variation in pH of surface waters (3.9–6.6), mean measurements for terrestrial and aquatic communities are 5.12 and 5.51 respectively. pH levels are comparable with poor fen systems elsewhere in Britain and slightly higher than patterned fens in continental regions of Europe and North America. The vegeta‐tional and chemical attributes of these sites therefore confirm the existence of true patterned fen systems in the British Isles.
Journal of Vegetation Science – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 1993
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