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Islands of long-hidden treasures

Peatland fauna

Species with different ecological requirements are represented in peatland animal communities. Those which are found almost exclusively in peatland habitats and can live outside of them only in specific conditions, e.g., in high mountains, are usually referred to as tyrphobiont or peat-dwelling. Those which prefer peatlands but can exist elsewhere are called tyrphophilous or also peat-loving. Others, for which the presence of this environment does not play a role, are tyrpho-neutral.

Typical representatives of the European peatland fauna include some tyrphobiont insect species, often glacial relics. These are, for example, the dragonflies Aeshna subarctica and Somatochlora arctica, butterflies such as Colias palaeno, Boloria aquilonaris or

Vacciniina optilete, beetles such as Carabus menetriesi and Agonum ericeti, or the ant Formica picea.
Some vertebrates also live on peat bogs, but their relationship to the environment is not as close. For example, the viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara), the common European adder (Vipera berus), the black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix), the common snipe (Gallinago gallinago) or the whinchat (Saxicola rubetra), and mammals like the short-tailed field vole (Microtus agrestis) and the Eurasian water shrew (Neomys fodiens).

Peatland and man

Peat bogs have always been perceived as mysterious, magical, and dangerous, but at the same time attractive places. They are associated with folk tales and legends, which can be found in geographical names such as Bor, Bahna, Blatiny, Kaliště, Maršov, V Bařinách and others. They are popular with artists, nature lovers and tourists. However, people have also learned to use peat in many practical areas of life.

The most common use of peat in the past was for fuel: peat was used for heating both in homes and in industrial plants (steelworks, glassworks, etc.). A thing of the past is also the use of peat as livestock bedding.

A number of atypical products were made from peat: fabrics (mats, cloth, blankets, carpets, cords, cotton wool, papers and cardboards, disinfectant powders, entomological plates, bowls, and tubes). Only peat pots and terrarium animal bedding can commonly be purchased from this range nowadays.

The beneficial effects of peat wraps have also been known for a long time in the spa industry, where the antibacterial and healing effects of peat are used. This use continues to this day: many peat products are made for spa care and home use.

Without peat, there would be no whiskey as we know it: the smoky aroma of whiskey is created by drying barley malt over burnt peat.

The most extensive peat usage is in agriculture, both in large-scale production and for use by smallholders. Peat lightens the soil, improves water management, and increases its acidity – which is irreplaceable for some plant species. However, it does not supply any nutrients to the soil, and in most cases, its use is unnecessary.