Over the Moor

Photo by jo

Moorland

  • I suppose moors would be readily associated with the hound of the Baskervilles
  • and Sherlock Holmes
  • but
  • you may be surprised to hear
  • that moorland is also present in tropical Africa, North America, Central Asia, Northern Australia
  • and Western Europe, where we would expect it to be
  • a moorland
  • or a moor, as some say
  • is basically an area defined by its low growing vegetation and acidic soil
  • it’s usually part of a shrubland grass savannah sort of biome
Photo by Dennis Fischer
  • heather moors are the most extensive, and likely the most well known moors
  • they’re located in the British Isles
  • one could easily confuse a heath and a moor
  • as they are almost the exact same thing
  • except for the fact
  • that moors have a nice soft covering of peat
  • which is a type of turf made up of decaying plant matter
  • very squishy
  • almost bog like
Photo by Pitor Gaborek
  • these sorts of moor environments lead to lots of endemism
  • meaning that organisms found in heather moors are endemic, or native to that specific habitat
  • for example
  • the rare horse breed, the Exmoor Pony is only found in the moors of the British Isles
  • why does this happen?
  • well
  • because the harsh soil conditions make surviving difficult for any vegetation but low lying shrubs
  • and because the moorlands exist in a microclimate
  • meaning that the area in which they exist has very specific climatic conditions that are vastly different from the surrounding area

So it wouldn’t be too surprising to find some giant rare hound roaming around the peat moors of the British Isles now would it? Well, I’d say that’s still pretty unlikely, as there isn’t a whole lot of primary production going on that could support large predatory canines.

But that’s a story for a different time.

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