This soil is problematic because it exhibits poor consolidation properties – it cannot be easily compacted to serve as a stable foundation to support loads, such as roads or buildings.
In a widely cited article, Joosten and Clarke (2002) defined peatlands or mires (which they claim are the same) ..most widespread of all wetland types in the world, representing 50 to 70% of global wetlands.
Landscapes covered in peat are home to specific kinds of plants including Sphagnum moss, ericaceous shrubs, and sedges (see bog for more information on this aspect of peat).
There is less peat in the Southern Hemisphere, in part because there is less land.
That said, the vast Magellanic Moorland in South America (Southern Patagonia/Tierra del Fuego) is an extensive peat-dominated landscape.
Because organic matter accumulates over thousands of years, peat deposits provide records of past vegetation and climate by preserving plant remains, such as pollen.
This allows humans to reconstruct past environments and study changes in human land use.