the Fens


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Fens, the,

district, E England, a flat lowland, W and S of The Wash. Extending c.70 mi (110 km) from north to south and c.35 mi (60 km) from east to west, it is traversed by numerous streams. The area was originally the largest swampland in England, formed by the silting up of a bay of the North Sea. The higher places were sites of Roman stations. The Romans attempted drainage and built a few roads across the Fens; however, the area had become marshy by Anglo-Saxon times, either from natural causes or from allowing Roman work to decay. The first effective drainage systems were developed in the 17th cent. by Cornelius Vermuyden, a Dutch engineer. Drainage and construction of dikes and channels in the various sections or "levels" continued through the 19th cent., but problems of land sinkage, water accumulation, and periodic flooding existed throughout the period. As a result of flooding in the 20th cent., a drainage-improvement project (completed in the mid-1960s) was undertaken. The district is largely under intensive cultivation. Agriculture is plentiful on the fertile alluvial soils, with vegetables, fruit, and wheat being the principal crops. Wildlife sanctuaries have been preserved. The district is also called Fenland.
References in periodicals archive ?
The fact that these are outwash soils with much sand and gravel is probably what allows for groundwater discharge hydrology associated with the fen.
Most of the fens in the state have been destroyed and a large part of the remainder (perhaps all) have been influenced by drainage, agricultural run-off and erosion.
Crum (1988) states that, "[In the southern Great Lakes region], the fens [Sphagnum-dominated and non-Sphagnum-dominated minerotrophic peatlands] give way to tamarack, poison sumac, red maple, and black ash.
The amount of channelization of stream flow through the fens and the potential indirect effects of the channelization on the hydrology and ecology of the fens are unknown, but are of concern.
The results of the groundwater model were substantiated with other data collected regarding major ion chemistry, isotope testing, historical water level fluctuations, and the age of the fens.
Potential decreases in groundwater recharge could shrink the fen and alter its unique biodiversity, which includes three plant communities, nine rare plant species, and the only Wisconsin sighting of the endangered Mat Muhly plant species.
Denitrification was highest in the fen forests in all three areas ([ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 2D OMITTED], Table 1) with generally higher rates in Maryland.
More than anything, Mr Hanson wants to rediscover some of the treasured plants he recalls seeing while walking the fens as a young boy.
Last year narrow firebreaks were cut into the fen," he said.
SPECTACULAR The fens are full of impressive plant species; AMAZING BLOOMS One of the fens' hidden gems, Marsh helleborine; POPULAR VOTE Local people enjoying a walk at Cors Erddreiniog National Nature Reserve, the jewel in the crown of the Anglesey fens
Martin Slimmings, chairman of the new association, said: "Although the Fens is one of the most attractive areas of Hartlepool to live in, it does have some persistent problems.
Unlike the fens, the bogs appear to have continued to expand at relatively constant rates with local variations, and to have been, at least until recently, fairly insulated from climatic influences.