Since the ice ages, natural processes have nourished life in the Crown of the Continent. Much of the environmental robustness that takes place here is engineered through a series of natural cycles involving fire, floods, wind, avalanches, and seasonal changes. Flora and fauna of this region have acclimated to these processes and the time frames in which they take place.
Soils are replenished through flood sedimentation and decaying plant material. Plants and animals make use of opportunities that ecological processes bring about to increase their numbers and change the landscape. A better understanding of these processes through intensive research helps increase our understanding of how forests grow and change and why animals are increasing in numbers or are in decline.