Wetlands are not wastelands full of mosquitoes and ooze. They are a valuable filter of nutrients, and provide beneficial flood control and purification. Wetland soils are often wet for most of the year. They lie in low areas and holes. There is a lot of organic matter in these soils, because dead things do not decompose well under water. The subsoil is gray, and often has mottles of several different colors in it. Wetland soils can be productive when farmed, but they need to be managed carefully, as they can also suffer from sinking if humans drain them.

This lesson is appropriate for grades 4+.


Wetland Soils

Lesson Objectives:


1) Define a wetland?

2)  Discuss where wetlands can be found

3) Describe some typical wetland soils

4) List the functions of wetlands.


Glossary of terms:


In current glossary:

  • Wetland
  • Peat

Other glossary words:

  • Histosols - organic soils
  • Hydric soils – soils that have properties of being waterlogged.


Activities or information:


1) Wetland (hydric) soil profiles


2) ​Monitoring wetlands


Study Questions:


1) Why is a wetland important?

2) What makes wetland soils different then other soils?

3) Where are wetlands found?

4) What is peat?