## ABSTRACT

Peatlands are a subset of wetlands that have accumulated significant amounts of soil organic matter. Soils of peatlands are colloquially known as peat, with mucks referring to peats that are decomposed to the point that the original plant remains are altered beyond recognition (Chapter 6, SSSA 2008). Generally, soils with a surface organic layer >40 cm thick have been classified as Histosols in the U.S. soil classification system-Soil Taxonomy (Soil Survey Staff 2014). Permafrost-affected organic soils are classified as the Histels suborder in the Gelisols order (Soil Survey Staff 2014). Based on current calculations of earth’s land surface of 148,940,000 km2 and our estimate of peatland area (or the combined area of Histosols and Histels) (Table 10.1), peatlands occupy about 2.7% of the earth’s surface.