Natural processes shape the land, create soil and topsoil, influence the water supply, and help determine the plants and animals that live in each natural community. Some natural processes act on large scales and affect more than one natural community at a time.
In This Community
In the Red Maple Seepage Swamp, important natural processes include
- groundwater processes
In the Broader Landscape
Some natural processes—such as groundwater processes—act on large scales and affect more than one natural community at a time. For example, in Rock Creek Park, the movement of groundwater and changes in the height of the water table affect not only the Red Maple Seepage Swamp, but also the Tuliptree Small-Stream Floodplain Forest.
In fact, these two natural communities can be grouped into a larger landscape unit that ecologists refer to as the Stream and Riparian Ecological System. An ecological system is a group of several natural communities that share many of the same natural processes and aspects of physical setting. By extension, they may also share many of the same plant and animal species.