Cranberry Glades to Cranesville Swamp: High elevation wetland communities of the Allegheny Mountains (2005)

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A unique part of West Virginia's natural heritage is bursting into life in the Allegheny Mountains. In the rest of the state, spring is well underway, but in the high elevation wetlands, frost may still cover the ground as the earth wakes.  Cold air drainage from the surrounding slopes collects in these high basins, known as "frost pockets". Many plants and animals that normally occur much farther north live here.

Together, these plants and animals make up what are known as "ecological communities", or interacting assemblages of organisms along with their physical environment and the natural processes that affect them. Ecological communities are important to conservation action because they allow us to protect unique groupings of plants and animals along with their food pathways and the natural processes they depend upon for survival. Understanding and classifying ecological communities is made easier by the fact that they tend to repeat across the landscape, wherever similar environmental conditions - soil, water, and climate - exist. For example, the margins of a newly created beaver pond may support a natural community of rice cutgrass and bur reed - plants that tolerate flooding and can move in quickly to colonise after this natural disturbance occurs.
Year: 2005
Language: English
In: Byers, E., 2005, Cranberry Glades to Cranesville Swamp: High elevation wetland communities of the Allegheny Mountains. West Virginia Wildlife, Volume 5, Issue 1. 12-14 pp. Spring 2005.,

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