The scientific tourist #250 — plant succession

A nice display of plant succession on the slopes of Mt. Rainier in Washington state, U.S.:

Plant succession

From the placard:

In the wake of the melting glacier, plants reclaim the bare ground in a particular sequence. Here, the phases of succession all appear in one view.

On freshly exposed rock, lichens gain the first foothold in tiny cracks caused by freezing and thawing. Soil gradually forms from decayed lichen, windblown dust and debris, and rock broken down by lichen. Eventually the forest returns, like the one across the canyon. Vegetation becomes a way of measuring time since the glacier’s retreat.

This entry was posted in Biology, Geology, History, Sci / Tech Tourism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.