Of all the various biotic communities in Estonia, bogs are the most ancient – the process of paludification began after the Baltic ice lake receded about 10,000 years ago, and continues to the present day. The flora and fauna in mires is unique – many animal and plant species are adapted to live there and there only. About a quarter of Estonia’s plants grow only in mires, among them many relict species from the Ice Age.
There is a layer of peat up to 17 metres thick in Estonia’s bogs
Bogs form over a very long period. There is plentiful peat moss on the ground. If it grows, the soil rises like dough – a fen-type wetland becomes transitional mire and, finally, a bog. Peat moss turns into peat as it decays. Most Estonian mires have a later of peat about 3-6 metres thick. The record is from southern Estonia, where a peat layer 17 m thick was found near the country’s highest point, Suur-Munamägi.
Estonian mires have accumulated an immense amount of peat – around 1,600 tons per capita. Peat is valuable as a source of energy and in horticulture, and Estonia has a significant ranking in European peat exports.
Bog walking in Estonia is exciting no matter what the season
Bog walking is popular in Estonia and there are plenty of companies that offer exotic bog-shoeing hikes all year round. Also, a lot of boardwalks take tourists on a voyage of discovery through mysterious bog landscapes and during winter you can access bogs by ski. If you long for a truly memorable experience, watch the sun rise over a bog!