A fen is defined as a type of peatland with nutrient-rich waters and is found primarily along the edges of lakes and rivers or the perimeters of bogs. The water contains dissolved minerals from the surrounding soils, and water levels fluctuate seasonally. The vegetation consists predominantly of sedges, grasses, rushes and mosses, with some shrubs and, at times a sparse tree layer. A fen is differentiated from a marsh by its peat layer, nutrient load and lower pH.
Primary production in fens is carried out mainly by sedges and grasses (in bogs, it is mosses); much of the organic material accumulates on the site as peat.
Fens are not common in Nova Scotia, but are still an important feature of the landscape. They are nutrient-rich wetlands with abundant wildlife, and contain several rare plant species of the coastal-plain flora (in southwestern Nova Scotia). If periodic flooding stops, a forest habitat is eventually established. Other changes to water flow cause fens to transition to bogs.
This Document Includes:
Types of Fens
Atlantic Ribbed Fen
First Blue-joint Grass subassociation
Second Blue-joint Grass subassociation
Sweet Gale-Blue Flag subassociation
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T8.1 Freshwater Hydrology
T8.2 Freshwater Environments
T10.2 Successional Trends in Vegetation
T10.4 Plant Communities in Nova Scotia
T10.5 Seed-bearing plants
T10.8 Bryophytes (Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts)
T11.5 Freshwater Wetland Birds and Waterfowl
T11.15 Amphibians and Reptiles
T11.16 Land and Freshwater Invertebrates
H3.4 Bottom Lentic (Lakes and Ponds)
H3.5 Water's Edge Lotic (Rivers and Streams)
H3.6 Water's Edge Lentic (Lakes and Ponds)
H4.4 Freshwater Marsh (Inland)
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