New PDF release: A Natural History of the Central Appalachians
By Steven L. Stephenson
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Extra resources for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians
Most species fall between these two extremes. Since each species is associated with a particular type of environment, it follows that those species with similar requirements often appear together, forming a plant community. Just how long a species has been present at a particular place, how it might have reached the place, where it came from, what factors limit where it can survive, and what the species contributes to the biotic communities of which it is part are all things that need to be considered if one is to develop a more complete understanding of vegetation in the Central Appalachians, or indeed anywhere on earth.
By contrast, the ground layer is usually well developed in red spruce forests on moist sites. In high-elevation red spruce forests, this layer can consist of an almost complete carpet of a liverwort, the three-lobed bazzania (fig. 22). The small, thin leaves of conifers, which are not shed all at once, apparently do not have the same smothering effect mentioned earlier for broadleaf trees in deciduous forests. 53 54 ecological situations. Because the sun is always in the southern half of the sky in the northern hemisphere, the south-facing side of a ridge receives appreciably more radiant energy from sunlight than the north-facing side of the same ridge and will therefore be warmer and drier.
One hypothesis, first proposed by the University of Arizona ecologist Paul Martin in 1967, is that these large mammals were driven to extinction by human hunting. This hypothesis, usually referred to as the prehistoric overkill hypothesis, is supported by the fact that the first humans (the first Native Americans newly arrived in North America from Asia) spread throughout North America during the same period as the extinctions. It seems reasonable to assume the large mammals, having lived for many thousands of years in the absence of any threat of human predation, would have been unprepared for human hunting and thus quickly succumbed to the hunters.
A Natural History of the Central Appalachians by Steven L. Stephenson