Ecopedological explorations of three calcareous rich fens in the Slovak Republic

R.H. Kemmers, S.P.J. van Delft, M. Madaras, M.R. Hoosbeek, J. Vos, N. van Breemen

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


This report presents the findings of quick surveys in three declining calcareous rich fens in the Slovak Republic to understand their origin and present state. Hypotheses were generated for further elaborated research as a base for restoration measures. Distinct sites along cross-sections were investigated by augering, soil sampling, making vegetation relevées and measuring temperatures and electric conductivities in peat profiles. Soil samples were collected for chemical analyses. Comparable processes and patterns were observed in the fens. The distribution patterns of the plant communities were strictly related to hydrological and pedological factors. The fens developed as flow-through-systems, with alternating cold discharge and warm recharge zones. Clear layers of calcite, pyrite and iron oxides alternated with organic layers in the discharge zones. Trophic levels of plant communities increased from the discharge to the recharge zones and were distinguished by distinct humus forms. Hardly any evidence was got for Fe- or Ca-bound inorganic P to explain low productivity at calcareous discharge sites, compared to recharge sites. Extremely low C/N and C/P ratio's suggested P and N immobilization by humification in these environments.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
Number of pages57
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Publication series

NameAlterra rapport
ISSN (Print)1566-7197


  • fens
  • soil chemistry
  • humus forms
  • peat soils
  • slovakia
  • vegetation
  • soil profiles
  • soil surveys
  • productivity


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