Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress
distribution, habitat-diversity, sphagnum, taxonomy
Theme I. Inventory, stratigraphy and conservation of mires and peatlands
Sphagnum peat mosses occur with around 300 species on almost all continents, mainly in northern South-America, North-America and east and north-east Asia as well as in Europe (Michaelis 2011). Peat mosses cover large areas in mires of the northern hemisphere but the global species diversity pattern is not related to the area of mires. Besides peatlands Sphagna colonize different mineral substrates, particularly in the humid tropics. The diversity pattern reflects not only habitat diversity but also the history of taxonomic research. In recent years taxonomical work has boomed in the neotropics and in the higher northern regions. Nevertheless, the recent regional Sphagnum species assemblages still reflect an unbalance in taxonomic research.