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.
If your browser does not automatically start loading the panorama after you click on this image link, please download Quicktime here.
Western Desert Panorama
Credits: Photographs by Carolyn Merchant; panorama assembly and web page by Rob Weinberg.