Flooded, saturated, or poorly drained soils are commonly anaerobic, leading to microbially induced magnetite/maghemite dissolution and decreased soil magnetic susceptibility (MS). Thus, MS is considerably higher in well-drained soils (MS typically 40-80 ?? 10-5 standard international [SI]) compared to poorly drained soils (MS typically 10-25 ?? 10-5 SI) in Illinois, other soil-forming factors being equal. Following calibration to standard soil probings, MS values can be used to rapidly and precisely delineate hydric from nonhydric soils in areas with relatively uniform parent material. Furthermore, soil MS has a moderate to strong association with individual tree species' distribution across soil moisture regimes, correlating inversely with independently reported rankings of a tree species' flood tolerance. Soil MS mapping can thus provide a simple, rapid, and quantitative means for precisely guiding reforestation with respect to plant species' adaptations to soil drainage classes. For instance, in native woodlands of east-central Illinois, Quercus alba , Prunus serotina, and Liriodendron tulipifera predominantly occur in moderately well-drained soils (MS 40-60 ?? 10-5 SI), whereas Acer saccharinum, Carya laciniosa, and Fraxinus pennsylvanica predominantly occur in poorly drained soils (MS <20 ?? 10-5 SI). Using a similar method, an MS contour map was used to guide restoration of mesic, wet mesic, and wet prairie species to pre-settlement distributions at Meadowbrook Park (Urbana, IL, U.S.A.). Through use of soil MS maps calibrated to soil drainage class and native vegetation occurrence, restoration efforts can be conducted more successfully and species distributions more accurately reconstructed at the microecosystem level. ?? 2008 Society for Ecological Restoration International.