Richmond National Battlefield Park has forest communities of various types and successional stages across its many units. From early successional to old-growth forest, visitors to the park have the opportunity to observe the dynamic changes that occur as a forest stand ages. In general, although the representative species may differ with geographical location and environmental conditions, the general process is similar in all forest successional pathways. Certain tree species, with high reproductive rates and rapid growth, are well-suited for colonization and are first to establish in a disturbed area. Over time, these species are outcompeted by species that tend to grow and reproduce less prolifically, but are better competitors and have longer life spans. The process of succession is often set back by natural disturbance, such as wildland fire, which starts the cycle again.
Did You Know?
Phoebe Yates Pember worked at Chimborazo Hospital as a matron, caring for the sick and wounded. Her memoirs, A Southern Woman’s Story are still in print and are considered to be among the finest pieces of Civil War literature.