Marcaria Peat Bogs are situated in the territory of the Municipality of Marcaria (MN) and represent one of the last evidences of marshy environments - very widespread in the past - along the river Oglio. Peat bogs and marshy areas like Marcaria probably formed in the past a continuum along the river areas; today they represent rare and fragmented environments both because of land reclamation activities and river retention works. These relict areas have been acknowledged all over the world for their high productivity and biodiversity.
Marcaria Peat Bogs, Nature Reserve of Parco Oglio Sud, SCI, SPA, 40 hectares of respect area, have been exploited since the mid-19th century for the peat extraction. The presence of small lake basins with irregular outlines derives from this activity, which was one of the main activities characterizing the area between the beginning of the 20th century and World War II. Most of the population used to work in the quarries, organized in small family cooperatives or employed by larger companies. In the early post-war period, the deposit was almost worked out and in the last forty years the area has been used to cultivate reeds, to practice hunting and fishing and, in its marginal stretches, for poplar cultivations.
Origins of the Wetland
The Reserve extends in an ancient meander of the river Oglio, in a basin whose limit is represented by a steep slope connecting the valley with the nearby elevated areas with altimetric differences reaching 4-5 meters. In the basin, naturally wet for the surface water layer characterizing it, cane-brakes and other marshy formations have developed. The soil asphyctic conditions have hindered the decomposition of the vegetable deposits which have accumulated in 3 to 6 meter thick strata and which give the soils the characteristic color: dark because of their richness in organic substance.
The Peat Bogs are mainly characterized by cane-brakes with close formations dominated by Common Reed (Phragmites communis), with occasional presence of Broadleaf Cattail (Typha latifolia) and small stretches of sedge formations consisting of various sedge species, among them the Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), localized above all along the edges.
Further info (Italian text)