NatureServe Explorer logo.An Online Encyclopedia of Life
Ecological System Comprehensive Report: Record 1 of 1 selected. View Glossary
<< Previous | Next >>

Scientific Name: Eastern Boreal-Sub-boreal Bog
Unique Identifier: CES103.581
Image 21959
© Don Faber-Langendoen
Summary: These raised peatlands are found at the higher temperate and near-boreal latitudes of the northeastern and north-central United States and adjacent Canada, where climate allows the rate of peat accumulation to exceed its decomposition, resulting in acidic peatlands. Most are ombrotrophic, at least over part of their area, though some examples may be weakly minerotrophic (poor fen), especially around the margins. The surface morphology of the bog may be more-or-less level, domed, or eccentric, but typically is over the water table. The vegetation is either semi-treed and dominated by low ericaceous shrubs (including Kalmia angustifolia, Kalmia polifolia, Ledum groenlandicum, and Chamaedaphne calyculata), with patches of conifers, graminoids and bryophyte lawns, or more open forest, where trees form a partial to moderate cover over parts of the peatland. In the latter situation, stunted Picea mariana and Larix laricina are the dominant trees, and dwarf-shrubs (Chamaedaphne calyculata, Ledum groenlandicum) and sedges are common in the understory. Secondary bog pools (schlenke) may be present. While the raised portion defines these bogs, fen vegetation is often present along the perimeter.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: This system corresponds to Glaser and Janssens' (1986) forested and "semi-forested continental bogs," but this system is somewhat broader in scope as it includes both the domed bogs and the flat bogs in the system type. Thus it extends further southward, into the central Great Lakes and northeasternmost United States. Eastward, it extends roughly to the Acadian region, where it is replaced by Acadian Maritime Bog (CES201.580). Northwestward in northern Ontario, continental non-forested bogs are common (Glaser and Janssens 1986, fig. 2).

These bogs may overlap in common terminology with that of "muskeg," a flat bog peatland with scattered trees and a fairly dense shrub layer on hummocky peat. But muskeg could include poor fens and acidic swamps as well as bogs.

This broadly defined peatland system can be subdivided based on the geomorphology of the peatland. A variety of approaches have been taken: in Maine, see Davis and Anderson (2001); in Canada, see National Wetlands Working Group (1988); and in Minnesota, see Glaser (1992). In Canada, bog and fen peatlands each have their own set of forms. In Minnesota, Glaser treats bogs and fens together as part of larger patterned peatland complexes (mire complexes).

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES103.724 Eastern Boreal-Sub-boreal Conifer Acidic Swamp and Treed Poor Fen
CES201.580 Acadian Maritime Bog
CES202.606 North-Central Interior and Appalachian Acidic Peatland

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002485 Picea mariana / Ledum groenlandicum / Carex trisperma / Sphagnum spp. Open Bog Woodland
CEGL002501 Carex lasiocarpa - Rhynchospora alba - Scheuchzeria palustris Acidic Peatland
CEGL005218 Picea mariana / Chamaedaphne calyculata / Sphagnum spp. Open Bog Woodland
CEGL005256 Carex oligosperma - Carex pauciflora - Eriophorum vaginatum / Sphagnum spp. Acidic Peatland
CEGL005271 Picea mariana - (Larix laricina) / Ledum groenlandicum / Sphagnum spp. Swamp Forest
CEGL005277 Chamaedaphne calyculata / Carex oligosperma / Sphagnum spp. Poor Fen
CEGL005278 Chamaedaphne calyculata - Ledum groenlandicum - Kalmia polifolia Bog
CEGL006098 Picea mariana / (Vaccinium corymbosum, Gaylussacia baccata) / Sphagnum sp. Swamp Woodland
CEGL006135 Sphagnum rubellum - Vaccinium oxycoccos Fen
CEGL006158 Alnus incana ssp. rugosa - Ilex mucronata / Sphagnum spp. Acidic Peatland
CEGL006225 Kalmia angustifolia - Chamaedaphne calyculata - (Picea mariana) / Cladonia spp. Acidic Peatland
CEGL006394 Sphagnum (cuspidatum, torreyanum) - Vaccinium macrocarpon Fen
CEGL006514 Rhododendron canadense - Chamaedaphne calyculata Acidic Peatland
CEGL006522 Carex limosa - Rhynchospora alba / Sphagnum pulchrum - Odontoschisma sp. Fen
CEGL006524 Carex (oligosperma, exilis) - Chamaedaphne calyculata Shrub Acidic Peatland


Land Cover Class: Woody Wetland
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: No
Wetland: Yes
Isolated Wetland: Partially Isolated

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Organic Peat (>40 cm)  
Oligotrophic Water  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Shrubland (Shrub-dominated)  
Isolated Wetland Partially Isolated
Picea mariana - Larix laricina  
Saturated Soil  
>180-day hydroperiod  
Moderate (100-500 yrs) Persistence  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Appalachia arcana
  (Michigan Bog Grasshopper)
Carex heleonastes ssp. heleonastes
  (Hudson Bay Sedge)
Somatochlora hineana
  (Hine's Emerald)
G2G3 LE: Listed endangered

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Larix laricina G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
Picea mariana G5 Needle-leaved tree Tree canopy    
Kalmia angustifolia G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
Kalmia polifolia G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)  
Vaccinium macrocarpon G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
Vaccinium oxycoccos G5 Dwarf-shrub Short shrub/sapling    
Ledum groenlandicum G5 Broad-leaved deciduous shrub Short shrub/sapling    
Chamaedaphne calyculata G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
Sarracenia purpurea var. purpurea T4 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Carex oligosperma G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
Eriophorum vaginatum G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    

Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
Appalachia arcana
  (Michigan Bog Grasshopper)
Boloria eunomia
  (Bog Fritillary)
Callophrys lanoraieensis
  (Bog Elfin)
Condylura cristata
  (Star-nosed Mole)
Hemidactylium scutatum
  (Four-toed Salamander)
Lithobates clamitans
  (Green Frog)
Lithobates sylvaticus
  (Wood Frog)
Lycaena epixanthe
  (Bog Copper)
Myodes gapperi
  (Southern Red-backed Vole)
Oeneis jutta
  (Jutta Arctic)
Opheodrys vernalis
  (Smooth Greensnake)
Somatochlora hineana
  (Hine's Emerald)
G2G3 LE: Listed endangered    
Synaptomys cooperi
  (Southern Bog Lemming)
Syngrapha microgamma nearctica
  (Little Bride Looper Moth)
Syngrapha montana
  (Labrador Tea Looper Moth)

Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: ME, MI, MN, NY, PA, VT, WI
Nation: Canada
Canadian Province Distribution: MB, NB, NS, ON, PEpotentially occurs, QC
Global Range: This system occurs in central and eastern Canada, extending into northern New England and the Great Lakes region, particularly in northern Minnesota. Very few examples occur south of the Laurentian-Acadian Division.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
103-Boreal C: Confident or certain
201-Laurentian-Acadian C: Confident or certain
202-Central Interior and Appalachian C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
47 Superior Mixed Forest Confident or certain
48 Great Lakes Confident or certain
61 Lower New England / Northern Piedmont Confident or certain
63 Northern Appalachian-Boreal Forest Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
41 Northern Lake Country Confident or certain
50 Central Great Lakes Uplands Confident or certain
51 Great Lakes Plains Confident or certain
63 Finger Lakes Never was there
64 Northeastern Highlands Confident or certain
65 Connecticut River Basin and Highlands Never was there
66 The North Woods Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9354

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: No

Element Description Edition Date: 04Mar2004
Element Description Author(s): S.C. Gawler and D. Faber-Langendoen

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Damman, A. W. H., and T. W. French. 1987. The ecology of peat bogs of the glaciated northeastern United States: A community profile. USDI Fish & Wildlife Service Biological Report 85(7.16). 100 pp.

  • Davis, R. G., and D. S. Anderson. 2001. Classification and distribution of freshwater peatlands in Maine. Northeastern Naturalist 8:1-50.

  • Edinger, G. J., D. J. Evans, S. Gebauer, T. G. Howard, D. M. Hunt, and A. M. Olivero, editors. 2014a. Ecological communities of New York state. Second edition. A revised and expanded edition of Carol Reschke's ecological communities of New York state. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Gawler, S. C., and A. Cutko. 2010. Natural landscapes of Maine: A classification of vegetated natural communities and ecosystems. Maine Natural Areas Program, Department of Conservation, Augusta.

  • Glaser, P. H. 1992a. Raised bogs in eastern North America - regional controls for species richness and floristic assemblages. Journal of Ecology 80:535-554.

  • Glaser, P., and J. A. Janssens. 1986. Raised bogs in eastern North America; transitions in surface patterns and stratigraphy. Canadian Journal of Botany 64:395-415.

  • Harris, A. G., S. C. McMurray, P. W. C. Uhlig, J. K. Jeglum, R. F. Foster, and G. D. Racey. 1996. Field guide to the wetland ecosystem classification for northwestern Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Northwest Science and Technology, Thunder Bay, Ontario. Field guide FG-01. 74 pp. plus appendix.

  • Kost, M. A., D. A. Albert, J. G. Cohen, B. S. Slaughter, R. K. Schillo, C. R. Weber, and K. A. Chapman. 2007. Natural communities of Michigan: Classification and description. Report No. 2007-21, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing. 314 pp. []

  • National Wetlands Working Group. 1988. Wetlands of Canada. Ecological Land Classification Series, No. 24. Sustainable Development Branch, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, and Polyscience Publications Inc., Montreal, Quebec. 452 pp.

  • WDNR [Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]. 2015. The ecological landscapes of Wisconsin: An assessment of ecological resources and a guide to planning sustainable management. PUB-SS-1131 2015. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison. []

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.

Copyright 2019
Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: March 2019