Peatlands are fascinating ecosystems. They are Boudewijn Beltman, Jon den Held, Harm Piek, inhabited by a wealth of especially adapted plant Drs. Niek van Heijst, Drs. Hermien van Sloch species, such as peat mosses, insectivorous teren and Dr. Taeke Stol, who participated in plants, and nitrogen-fixing shrubs. They also the early stages of the process. The help of Drs. have a 'memory' often going back thousands of G. J. Baayens in the correction of chapter 5 is years, recorded in the layers of plant remains gratefully acknowledged. accumulated underneath the present plant cover. Chapters 6 and 7 have been supported by the Many peatlands are relatively low-productive foundation 'Oecologia Trajectina', Utrecht, by and species-rich, and show vegetational gradients supplying grants made available by the 'Prins related to water chemistry. Bernhard Fonds', Amsterdam and the 'Beij Peatlands have long been recognized for many erinck-Popping Fonds', Amsterdam. I am indeb values. The most conspicuous values appreciated ted to Marjolein Smithuizen and Dick Smit of for the Dutch mires were probably the great the Illustration division of the faculty of Biology, potential of the large nutrient stores in peat soils University of Utrecht, for the large number of for agricultural purposes, and the high calorific drawings they produced for the book. Gerrie value of peat when used as a fuel. These values Bransen helped with the printing of the final have led to large-scale exploitation and destruc versions of the various chapters.