Wetland and hydric soilsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Soil and the inherent biogeochemical processes in wetlands contrast starkly with those in upland forests and rangelands. The differences stem from extended periods of anoxia, or the lack of oxygen in the soil, that characterize wetland soils; in contrast, upland soils are nearly always oxic. As a result, wetland soil biogeochemistry is characterized by anaerobic processes, and wetland vegetation exhibits specific adaptations to grow under these conditions. However, many wetlands may also have periods during the year where the soils are unsaturated and aerated. This fluctuation between aerated and nonaerated soil conditions, along with the specialized vegetation, gives rise to a wide variety of highly valued ecosystem services.