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Biopedological origin of peatlands in South East Alaska


Peatlands are the final stage in plant succession on level surfaces in South East Alaska, a region where bogs and forests in the process of turning into bogs occupy nearly as much surface area as do forests proper1–3. Plant succession in this area is in part conditioned by progressive bogging4; however, no previous attempts have been made to relate paludification to soil development. We now propose that the formation of peatlands in the Lituya Bay area of South East Alaska is caused by the deterioration of the internal drainage of the soil as an iron-cemented pan develops during the process of podzolisation. This situation provides a clear example of soil-induced bog formation, a process that may be important in other parts of the world.

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Ugolini, F., Mann, D. Biopedological origin of peatlands in South East Alaska. Nature 281, 366–368 (1979).

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