Ecological Significance

Conifers are the gymnospermous group with the most profound ecological role in Earth's vegetation. Conifers dominate some vegetation types, such as the taiga of high northern latitudes or boreal forests of lower latitudes. Some temperate forests, for example in Argentina, Australia, or northwestern North America, are also composed almost exclusively of coniferous trees.

Conifers can also be important as successional species or as the climax vegetation of odd environments in other temperate or tropical areas. For example, in environments prone to fire, with a long enough growing season and enough precipitation to support the growth of trees, conifers are often present. Conifer bark is thicker than most flowering plant tree bark and so coniferous trees are better able to survive ground fires. Some conifer cones open to release their seeds only after a fire.

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