Ferd's Bog

Arial views of Ferd's Bog

Ferd's Bog was formed thousands of years ago during the Wisconsonian glacial retreat. As the ice at the terminus of the glacier melted a large block was cut off from the glacier and settled into what is known today as Ferd's Bog. The ice melted over a period of time and created an isolated body of water. In other words, there was no inlet or outlet of water, the only source of was was atmospheric. Over thousands of years, organic matter began to accumulate because the water contained no oxygen to support decomposing bacteria or fungus. Not only was the water becoming more shallow, but it was filling in at the edges.

As organic matter continued to accumulate, sphagnum moss and its dense root system grew over the remaining water layer. This mat created a habitat for other bog plant species such as labrador tea, leatherleaf, bog rosemary, bog cranberry, larch (tamarack) and carnivorous plants including pitcher plants and sundews. The kame was the original boundary of the large block of ice and subsequently the original body of water. Ferd's bog still contains a large span of open water in the middle of the mat.

Today the kame is the demarcation between the deciduous forest and the bog's coniferous forest. Walking on the Ferd's bog trail one can stand on top of the kame and note the differences in the trees and soil. The coniferous forest inside the kame is marked by soft organic soil. A ten year old can easily push a steel rod 4 feet into the soil on the inside of the kame. On the mat one can retrieve clay from the bottom of the bog, as far as 36 ft under the surface.

Larch trees were cored at Ferd's Bog in order to estimate their age.

Ferd's Bog Larches
Species DBH (cm) Length of Core Sample (cm)Number of RingsAnnual Growth Rate (cm/year)Estimated Age
Larix8.964.5540.8354.00
Larix8.284.14600.6960.00

Want more dendrochronology?


Questions for Exploration

  1. How are carnivorous plants adapted to life in a bog?
  2. Explain why the bog core samples have such narrow, compact growth rings.
  3. larch core sample larch core sample

  4. Pictured here are some of Larches found on the mat at Ferd's Bog. Can you explain why young Larches are healthy whereas the older larches are very unhealthy?
  5. Larches at Ferd's Bog

  6. NOAA Paleoclimatology Program
    Click for information on pollen sampling from bogs throughout the northern hemishpere and the Adirondack region.