The Wetland Book pp 1515-1528 | Cite as

Peatland Classification

  • Richard LindsayEmail author
Reference work entry


Many approaches to the classification of peat-forming (mire) systems have been devised over the years, each with its own particular focus. The present review restricts itself to those classification systems which focus on peatlands as ecosystems. Such systems are in broad agreement that there is a significant ecological difference between mires which are waterlogged by groundwater or accumulated surface water, broadly known as ‘fens’, and mires which are waterlogged only through direct precipitation, broadly termed ‘bogs’. Within these broad concepts, however, mires have been variously classified according to their vegetation, their chemistry, their source of water and their hydromorphology. This last system of classification is widely employed, and its hierarchical, or ‘Tope’, approach offers the potential to incorporate other classification systems at various levels within the hierarchy.


Mire Peatland Bog Fen Soil Wetland Morphology Raised bog Groundwater Niedermoor Hochmoor übergangsmoor Ombrotrophic Minerotrophic Precipitation Basin Valley Hydromorphology Chemistry Phytosociology Synusia Soligenous Geogenous Hydrogenetic Haplotelmic Diplotelmic Acrotelm Catotelm Percolation Tope system Supertope Macrotope Mesotope Microtope Nanotope 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainability Research InstituteUniversity of East LondonLondonUK

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