Otago is the home of several nationally significant wetland systems, some of which are only found in Otago.

These include:

  • Scroll plain and meander wetlands
    • an example of this is the upper Taieri River scroll plain. This also includes the Fortification Stream, and other meander systems at many scales in the uplands.
    • in this type of wetland, rivers and streams meander across floodplains creating diverse habitats maintained by variable water flows. These systems capture the regional geomorphic history, tectonic, glacial-periglacial, and erosion processes that impact gene flow and species formation.


  • String bog or patterned mire wetlands
    • examples include stream headwater stepped bogs on the Lammerlaw Range and the Nokomai/Nevis patterned mires.
    • these are usually found in uplands on central and eastern mountains. In these areas the low temperatures and limited nutrient help increase the amount of peat that can accumulation on gentle slopes. This then creates extensive cushion bog and fen communities. The peat causes distinctive patterns, with each pool separated by ridges of raised peat (or strings). 


  • Saline Wetlands
    • examples of saline wetlands are Sutton Salt Lake and isolated patches through the inland basins of Central Otago
    • saline wetlands are naturally rare ecosystems where local mineralisation and evaporative processes result in accumulation of soluble salts and formation of alkaline soils. They typically occur in semi-arid climates and support salt-tolerant herbaceous vegetation which would otherwise occur in coastal marshes. 


  • Ephemeral wetlands
    • Moraine examples in Otago include the Von Valley and Dart Valley near Paradise. Otago has its own special form of ephemeral wetland hollows in the peneplain crests of the lower Central Otago Ranges, eg. Nenthorn area on the Taieri Ridge
    • variously occupy depressions on glacial moraine, slump deposits, and dune hollows, ponded by rainfall in winter and dry in summer. They support mainly prostrate plants and a specialised group of insects.
    • ephemeral of a system that is a saturated or submerged wetland for some periods, yet becomes in effect a dry habitat for substantial alternate periods. ephemeral wetland a wetland class, typically occupying a closed depression that lacks a permanent surface outlet channel, having mineral soil and a marked seasonal alternation between being ponded and dried, the wetness and the wetland tending therefore to be ephemeral.