Swamp vs Bog
There are four different types of wetlands. Each has very distinct characteristics, and the terms cannot be used interchangeably. First of all, let’s understand what wetlands are. They are places which are neither land nor water. Wetlands have unique characteristics which differentiate them from either land or water. The four different types of wetlands are; marshes, swamps, bogs, and fens. In this article we will concentrate on the differences only between swamps and bogs.
Swamps are low wetlands formed by the collection of river water in a shallow and flat area. The collected river water flows out slowly into another river or stream. It is muddy and is characterized by trees. The trees can survive in swamps. They have the presence of two types of trees; trees which are tolerant to water, like cypress and mangrove, or land trees. The land trees grow on small islands like dry spots in the swamp.
Swamps are found in the floodplains of rivers and in basins which are not very well drained. The soil in swamps is muddy, mucky soil. This is because swamps are either continually flooded or are seasonally inundated. Swamps have some drainage, and water flows in from rivers or streams so that the water and trees may provide oxygen and other nutrients. It supports a variety of wildlife. Many species of fish, turtles, frogs, minks, herons, muskrats, and a tremendous number of insects can be found in swamps. Along with trees, many low-lying plants are also found in swamps.
A bog is usually higher than its surrounding area. It contains water which is stagnant. It has no drainage or inflow. The water is collected mainly by precipitation and is held due to absorption by layers of peat.
There are two different ways in which bogs are formed. They are either formed when the sphagnum moss fills a whole lake or pond by growing over the water body, this process is called terrestrialization, or when the moss grows over land and does not allow the water to leave; this process is called paludification.
Peat deposits start building as the plants die and decay, and the water turns acidic. Bogs support animals and plants which are characterized by adaptation towards water-logged conditions, low nutrients, and acidic waters, like Sundew which is a carnivorous plant. Most insectivorous plants are able to gain nitrogen from the insects by eating them.
- Swamps are low wetlands; bogs are generally higher than the surrounding land.
- Swamps receive water from rivers or streams and have some drainage; bogs receive water from precipitation and have no outflow; water is held by seepage.
- Swamps are formed by the collection of river or stream water; bogs are formed either by terrestrialization or paludification.
- Swamps have muddy soil; bogs have peat formed by dead and decaying vegetation.
- Swamps generally support trees and many other wildlife; bogs support plants and animals who can adapt to low nutrients, water-logging, and acidic waters like many insectivorous plants.