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Fochteloerveen belongs to the Society for preservation of nature monuments in the Netherlands, this is a Dutch organisation founded in 1905 that buys, protects and manages nature reserves in the Netherlands.
At the end of the last Ice Age, about 10 000 years ago, an extensive area of peat bogs was created along what is now the Drenthe-Friesland border. For centuries, peat was used for heating on a small scale, but large-scale land clearance for agriculture between 1600 and 1900 fundamentally changed the character of the region. All that was left of this once huge peat resource was the Fochterloërveen (3 000 ha) and a few smaller cores. Even here, the peat degraded and turned into earth after the peat bog was drained for tree-planting and farming (of buckwheat varieties). The result was a monotonous expanse of Molinia grasses. Only in the highest core area was the peat still intact, complete with the vegetation associated with raised bogs. Sufficient peat moss (sphagnum) still grew here to sustain peat formation: it therefore provided a core area from which the entire Fochterloërveen raised bog could be restored.