• Sunset view of Glacier Bay and the surrounding Fairweather Mountains.

    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?

Lupine Buds

Lupines are hardy pioneers typically growing in areas with nutrient poor soil, like those of a retreating glacier. The fine hairs on their stems and the undersides of their leaves help to deflect wind and retain heat for more favorable growing conditions.