Peatland Ecology Research Group (PERG)
Université Laval

Text from:

Quinty, F. & L. Rochefort. (2003). Peatland restoration guide, 2nd ed. Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association et New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy. Québec, Québec. 106 p.

Acrotelm and catotelm


The catotelm and acrotelm represent two distinct soil layers in undisturbed peat bogs that control the hydrological regime. The catotelm is the bottom layer of peat that is permanently below the water table. Under these anaerobic conditions, microbial activity and peat decomposition is very slow. The catotelm is composed of relatively decomposed compacted peat and water movements are slow.

Diagram showing the structure of the acrotelm and the catotelm. The acrotelm is the living part of peat bogs. It is made of loose material creating large pore space that is periodically occupied by water. (Redrawn from Payette & Rochefort 2001)
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