I read this article and I think it shows a perfect view of mutiple threats that can threaten a bog.
Originally Posted by [bQuote[/b] ]Wildlife in danger - From blazing stars to big-eared bats, Appalachia home to threatened, endangered species
by Iva Butler, of The Daily Times Staff
The Maryville Daily Times
The Tennessee and North Carolina border, including national parks and forests, is home to as many endangered and threatened species as almost any area in the world.
Gary Peeples, an outreach specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working out of the Asheville, N.C., office, spoke on Endangered Species in the Southern Appalachians on Thursday at the 15th annual Winterfest Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge.
Some of the rarities in the area are the mountain balds, he said. These are areas on which grass and flame azalea grow -- but no trees. Out West such areas are above the tree line, but that is not true for the local bald elevations, including Andrews and Gregory balds.
``We don't know where they come from,'' Peeples said.
The balds might have been formed by wildlife grazing on the balds, wind, fire, ice storms, disease or a combination of these factors.
Several rare wildflowers grow in the Southern Appalachians.
Growing on the balds are Blue Ridge goldenrod, which grows only along the Tennessee and North Carolina border, and Heller's blazing star.
Ninety percent of the Appalachian bogs have been drained because they occur in flat areas where farming and development are popular.
Some rare bog plants in the area are swamp pinks, a member of the lily family designated as threatened in 1988. It has a pink flower the shape and size of an average pine cone. A good place to see these are the pink beds in Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.
Carnivorous green pitcher and mountain sweet pitcher plants have been listed as endangered since 1979.
Several groups in the area support the native environment and cooperate to keep the bogs free of trees and invasive exotics like Japanese stilt grass.
Bog plants like a lot of sun and when trees, such as maples, grow up they spread out and start to shade out the plants like swamp pinks.
Bogs are also home to at least one species that is becoming endangered, the bog turtle. This 3½- to 4½-inch reptile is the smallest turtle in North America.
Aquatic habitats also have threatened and endangered species.
``The Southern Appalachians have some tremendous rivers. There are more than 170 different species of fish. A lot of them are smaller than your hand ... 3 to 5 inches long. Fifteen are federally listed as threatened or endangered,'' Peeples said.
This area is also home to 60 remaining species of mussels. Historically there were 85 species. To put it in perspective, the entire continent of Europe has only 12 species of mussels.
Half of the 60 mussel species are either threatened or endangered, largely due to the construction of dams.
``Fish and mussels are designed to live in cool mountain streams and a lot of these critters can't live in reservoirs,'' Peeples said.
``Mussels are filter feeders, eating algae and bacteria.'' They take in water, filter out the algae and bacteria, and then flush out the clean water.
As streams are cleaned up, rare mussels propagated in captivity are being reintroduced by Tennessee Tech and Virginia Tech.
Caves and mines are home to threatened or endangered bats, including the Virginia big-eared and Indiana bats. Bats hibernate for the winter and, like bears, store up fat in the fall to last them throughout the winter months.
If people go into caves or mines and disturb bat colonies, they risk waking up the bats, causing the bats' metabolism to speed up and consume stored fat at a increased rate. That can result in the bats not having enough fat to last the winter.
Also, if a maternity colony is disturbed, mother bats have been known to abandon the juveniles.
One way to address the problem is by installing gates that lock out people but allow bats to enter through openings.
The spruce and Fraser fir forests provide a home for other endangered and threatened species. These are located at the highest elevations, like Clingman's Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Carolina northern flying squirrels live in these trees. These forests also house the rock gnome lichen, the only lichen on the endangered list in the United States. The world's smallest tarantula spider, the spruce fir moss spider, lives in moss that grows on the forest floor below the trees.
Competing for space
Invasive exotic plants, like kudzu, are an ongoing threat to rare species. These exotics aggressively compete for space because they have no natural controls, like diseases or animals that feed on them.
Balsam woolly adelgids are killing off balsam and Fraser firs. Killing the hemlock are the hemlock woolly adelgid. Both bugs are imports from Asia.
The decline in air quality, combined with the invasive insects, make for a dual threat, Peeples said.
Tree loss shrinks habitat for birds and a reduces food for other wildlife. Hemlock often grow along streams and provide shade that helps keep the water at the cool temperature preferred by trout.
Other threats are acid rain, ozone and water pollution caused by poor development practices and storm water runoff that put silt in streams.
The silty mud coats the bottom of the rivers, and that can kill mussels and fish that need rocky area to live and spawn.
Another threat to plants and animals is poaching. Plants like swamp pinks, green pitcher plants and rock gnome lichen are often harvested illegally.