We present analyses of macroscopic and microscopic remains as a tool to characterise sedge fen peats. We use it to describe peat composition and stages of peat decomposition, to assess the success of rewetting of a formerly drained fen, and to understand the workings of these novel ecosystems. We studied two percolation fen sites, one drained and one drained and rewetted 20 years ago. Years of deep drainage have resulted in a layer of strongly decomposed peat which lacks recognizable macro-remains. We could associate micro-remains with macro-remains, and thus still characterise the peat and the plants that once formed it. We show that the strongly decomposed peat is of the same origin as the slightly decomposed peat below, and that is was ploughed. We present descriptions of eight types of the main constituent of sedge peat: plant roots, including Carex rostrata type, C. lasiocarpa/rostrata type, C. limosa type, C. acutiformis type, C. echinata type, Phragmites australis type, Cladium type, Equisetum type. We describe three new non-pollen palynomorph types (microscopic remains) and five new subtypes. The rewetted fen provides insights into plant succession after rewetting and the formation of peat that predominantly consists of roots. Results indicate that leaf sheaths may be a consistent component of the peat.
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