• Winter light on the Fairweather Range

    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Plant Succession in Pictures

Moss beginning to colonize glacial till
It's not much to look at but moss like this will start to colonize glacial till, paving the way for the plants that follow.
 
The lovely pink blossoms of fireweed
The seeds of fireweed are perfectly designed to be carried to new areas by the wind.
 
A mat of dryas gone to seed with cottonwood trees growing up in the middle
Dryas (shown gone to seed) is very good at enriching the soil with nitrogen, something all plants need to live. Notice the moss growing close to the ground around the dryas mat and the cottonwood trees growing up in the middle.
 
Looking through the dense foliage of an alder thicket
Alder is good at fixing nitrogen in the soil. But it can make hiking very difficult, if not impossible!
 
Young spruce tree
Eventually, spruce trees begin to grow under the alder thicket.
 
Hemlock branch
Hemlock trees are an important member of the mature forest community.
 
Mature spruce and hemlock forest
A mature spruce and hemlock forest (often referred to as "old growth") is a lovely yet disorderly place, with trees at all stages of growth and decay.
 
 

Did You Know?

Map of the National Park areas in Alaska

There are 17 national park areas in Alaska and it is home to two-thirds of the land in the entire national park system. The National Park Service manages 39 million acres in Alaska.