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1 Introduction

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Chapter Summary

Calcareous fens belong to a group of mires known as alkaline fens, which occur in almost all European countries, located within six biogeographical regions: Boreal, Continental, Alpine, Atlantic, Pannonian and Mediterranean. Alkaline fens display considerable local variation with respect to vegetation and water chemistry across their distribution range. Common features are: the predominance of brown mosses over Sphagna in the peat-forming layer, the supply of relatively mineral-rich groundwater, and mesotrophic conditions for plant growth. Compared to other types of mires, rich fens possess the highest species diversity. Rich fens are influenced by calcareous groundwater that usually is formed due to water flow through nearby calcareous substrates. In total, 152 mire sites are protected under national legislation. The period between 2001 and 2010 saw significant efforts to study, restore and restart management practices in Slovakian mires.

Keywords: alkaline fens; calcareous mires; mineral-rich groundwater; Slovakia



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