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Ecology Panoramas

The history of ecology exemplifies several theories of plant community development including primary and secondary succession. The first occurs by evolution in relatively pristine areas, the second follows human or natural disturbance. The panoramas below exemplify two different types of ecosystems--a northeastern forest (outside Concord, Massacuhsetts) and a western desert (in Anza Borrego State Park in Southern California).

As you view the panoramas, identify the environmental conditions (such as rainfall, temperature, and soil) that limit the types of plants that grow in each place. How do these factors influence the ways humans might have used these areas in the past or might use them in the future? Look at the types of plants that grow in association with each other. In your opinion do these groupings exemplify primary or secondary plant succession? Use the linked quotations and additional photographs to help you in your interpretation.

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Eastern Forest Panorama


Western Desert Panorama



Credits: Photographs by Carolyn Merchant; panorama assembly and web page by Rob Weinberg.