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Western boreal wetlands & orchids

Faculty Advisor




orchids, native plants, conservation, wetlands, muskeg, peatlands

Abstract (summary)

Wetlands are a dominant component of the western boreal region of Canada. They are comprised primarily of peatlands, wetlands with organic soils. Peatlands vary from acidic bogs to calcareous fens and offer a rich array habitats for plants, including orchids. A wide variety of factors contribute to plant diversity in peatlands, including water table, water chemistry, shade, and other microhabitat factors. Of the rare plants found in peatlands, most are comprised of sedges and some of North America's rarest orchids. While peatlands appear to be a safe harbour for orchids and other rare plants, development pressures mean that these sites are not immune to disturbance. Current policy to protect orchids (and other plant species) is relatively weak. Conservation of specific ecosystems may be a more effective means to protect rare orchids.

Publication Information



Presented on June 12, 2010 at the 2010 Native Orchid Conference, held at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.

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