Wind-blown mountain hemlock on ridgeline
Sometimes we just can't walk away from our problems, so it is nice
to know there are others out there in similar predicaments. Plants
have been rooted in ever since they emerged out of algae-like organisms
eons ago. Only when they cast their seeds to the wind, entice a
bird to swallow their seeds, or stick a burr to a mammal's fur can
plants move aboutand usually for only short distances.
Since plants take generations to move, they make easy subjects
for scientists to study. Botanists and ecologists have found that
groups of plants are found living together in communities. They
band together to weather similar environmental conditions: cold
winters, dry summers, windy mountaintops, moist river valleys. They
root themselves in for the long haul and set up chemical and physical
defenses to protect themselvesand sometimes their communitiesfrom
environmental difficulties and biological intruders.
Before park scientists can really get to know plants or animals,
they must be familiar with the habitat types that exist in the park.
North Cascades scientists have classified habitats into 13 general
life zones. These zones have been outlined in the following activity.
Go for it and see how well you can Zone into