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Trends Ecol Evol. 1995 Jul;10(7):270-5.

How Sphagnum bogs down other plants.

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  • Nico van Breemen is at the Dept of Soil Science and Geology, Wageningen Agricultural University, POB 37 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Recent research on the organo-chemical composition of Sphagnum and on the fate of its litter has further clarified how this plant builds acidic, nutrient-poor, cold and anoxic peat bogs. The bog environment helps Sphagnum to outcompete other plants for light. Its morphology, anatomy, physiology and composition make it an effective ecosystem engineer and at the same time benefit the plant in the short term. This may have facilitated the evolution of the genus.

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