Cranberry Bog is a floating peat island that was created when an effort to supply water to the nearby canals flooded the valley and about 50 acres of the lake bottom rose to become the island. The interior of the island proves to be excellent habitat for Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea and Drosera rotundifolia.
Since that report to the CPN 20 years ago, the island has again shrunk and is now about 11 acres, down from the 20 acres in 1987. Definitely take a trip and go if you get the chance. A permit is required to access the island.
I read your background reading. I couldn't help but relate to others who have difficulty detecting Drosera nestled in red sphagnum. It's hard to spot them even when you are specifically looking for them. I've often times ended up with very wet knees. Great photos. So nice to see others taking the time to share their visits.
The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards. -Mencius
Fascinating, though it doesn't sound as though the location will survive much longer. Given a near 50% reduction in size over the last 20 years, the estimate of a further 150 year life (in 1987) appears rather optimistic.
It's also interesting to note that the there was a single founding individual for the Sarracenia population.
I didn't have much time on the island my first time there since the light was slowly leaving us, but I couldn't find a single Drosera in the bog! My permit is good for a month, so I'll have to return and get some soggy knees myself. (Not really - there's a boardwalk and you're not allowed to deviate from the path. Pity, since it's not a large boardwalk at all.)
And yes, the estimate of how long the island will be around is rather optimistic, though there was probably a lot less recreational boat traffic in 1987. Or perhaps the author of the 1987 travelogue determined that 150 year figure from a linear deterioration instead of exponential. Even though there is a no-wake zone around the island, it still gets quite a bit of wave action, tearing it apart bit by bit.
I found the point about the 1912 introduction of a single Sarracenia purpurea interesting as well. It's a really unique case which would be an excellent study area for populations research. I couldn't make an estimate on how many plants are on the island, but the 157,000 estimate from 1983 seems inaccurate for today's population, though I wasn't able to visit the entire island.
This is an interesting example of the potential consequences of the introduction (accidental or on purpose) of exotic plants into suitable habitat. A single individual S. purpurea was transplanted into this bog by Freda Detmers, graduate student in botany at The Ohio State University, in 1912. Nine years later (1922), J.H. Schaffner reported "hundreds" of individual S. purpurea plants. In 1978 (67 years after introduction), the number of individual plants was estimated to be 157,000 ± 50,000. A logistic growth model suggested the population expanded throughout the bog and probably saturated the habitat after about 30 years.
K.E. Schwaegerle concludes: "The great number of pitcher plants at Cranberry Bog reflects the impact of exponential growth in an open environment and suggests that even non-weedy plant populations can respond surprisingly rapidly to new resources."
Succession is a natural progression in which lakes eventually fill in to become ponds, which eventually fills in further to become bogs and eventually meadows, which eventually becomes a woodlands forest, unless some disturbance causes it to reverse somehow, such as fire; and fire ecology is another natural part of these ecosystems, in a lot of CP areas, certainly well known in the NJ Pine Barrens.
For several decades, this was not very well understood, and "Smokey the Bear" signs festooned the various roadsides in the NJ Pine Barrens, attempting to prevent forest fires. The common Pitch Pine (Pinus regida) even produces adventitious rosettes of needles all over the trunk, just "itching" to burn at the slightest chance, which is a good thing as it clears the accumulated debris that doesn't decompose readily, and kills a lot of parasites and “weeds” that may not belong to this ecosystem; the indigenous trees and shrubs have evolved well enough to be able to withstand such fires that occur every 3 to 5 years, and grow back often with renewed vigor for the additional light and nutrients. Some seeds only germinated after such "flash fires".
However, when these fires are prevented for a decade or more, the resulting fire is a devastating holocaust, which is very damaging to the vegetation. Otherwise, just accept the fact that these ponds will come and go over the years.
lol i guess some graveyards are filled with people who were thinking they were doing good but caused harm......... and whenever exceptions are made you undermine your entire system.....
in the future i think that people need to take a past look at what would fix things rather then what would just solve htings in the now causing trouble in the future.
on a random side note........ i love this song "no good deed" its from wicked and has some lyrics along the lines off ...." was i really doing good or just seeking attention"..."no good deed goes unpunished"
I realized I didn't post any photos of the island itself, so here's one (island is to the left, the shore of the lake is in the background) :
There was also some dodder on the island:
The 1978 estimation of S. purpurea population may not be accurate today. The island has shrunk considerably, though I only saw the part of the island one can view from the boardwalk. I do wonder what's beyond view, but I did kayak around the perimeter and couldn't locate other suitable habitat. Most of the island is shaded by maturing trees. Their population growth is indeed interesting and I wonder what a census of today's population would turn up.
It was great to run across this post while researching this bog. I first heard of it last summer and have started looking into visiting this year.
I've contacted the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to see if they would be interested in helping to get some specimens to the NASC for posterity since the bog is vanishing so quickly. I had expected them to tell me to "hit the road" but I was given a phone number to call for a collection permit so that gave me a little hope.
If I may ask, how did you get to the island?
Also, if I am able to secure a permit to collect some CPs, is there a similar organization to preserve the Drosera and Utrics as well?
I forgot to mention that over this past summer, I visited the island once more during their open house. We were rushed around the island so quickly I didn't get to take many photos, so I definitely suggest getting a permit to visit on your own time.
I also asked the naturalist guide about the assertion that Freda Detmers was responsible for the population of Sarracenia purpurea on the island. He said he had heard from colleagues that that may not be true. I question that, though - why would Freda not list Sarracenia purpurea on the list of vascular flora of the island she compiled if it had existed there prior to her visit? (her article is here: kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/1811/1717/1/V11N06_305.pdf)
briand, contact me privately. I don't live too far from the bog and have kayaks that can reach the island (with some difficulty getting on to the dock, though). I also work at a local college that would be interested in maintaining populations of these species for posterity if you get the proper permits.
There's been some recent research by a few grad students at ESU regarding the bogs in eastern Pa., (which I mentioned previously, that some may have been transplanted S. purps from more southern locations), but several fossil records show pollen of S. purp deep within some of these bogs sediment layers that date back thousands of years; but who knows if the original populations got wiped out, and new transplanted S. purps were brought in, or even mixed with an existing population. The documentation is sketchy at best. - Rich
... not suffering from insanity, but rather enjoying it actually!
Rich, that's interesting. Something similar could have happened all over Ohio. There were plenty of bogs, including the area around Cranberry Bog, that once had thriving populations of Sarracenia purpurea. I suspect that Cranberry Bog (before they constructed the dam for the canal) once had such populations.