, Volume 180, Issue 1, pp 105-116

Patterns of Primary Succession on the Foreland of Coleman Glacier, Washington, USA

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Abstract

Patterns of community development vary among studied glacier forelands around the world. However, there have been few studies of primary succession on glacial forelands in temperate regions of North America. We described patterns in community composition, vegetation cover, diversity, and vegetation heterogeneity during primary succession on the foreland of Coleman Glacier, in Washington State, USA. Community composition changed rapidly with high turnover between age classes. Cover increased through succession as expected. Species richness and diversity were highest in early succession at small scales and in late succession at larger scales. At small scales, heterogeneity decreased in early succession but increased in mature sites. At larger scales, heterogeneity reached its lowest point earlier in succession. These scale-dependent patterns in diversity and heterogeneity differ from results of other studies of glacier forelands. We hypothesize that these patterns arise due to the development of a dense canopy of the deciduous shrub Alnus viridis followed by a dense canopy of Abies amabilis, Tsuga heterophylla, and Pseudotsuga menziesii.