Pollination differs between angiosperms and gymnosperms in that most angiosperms entice animals to carry their pollen from plant to plant, while most gymnosperms rely on the wind carrying their pollen to other plants. There are many wind-pollinated angiosperms and a very few animal-pollinated gymnosperms, however. The methods angiosperms use tend to be more effective at spreading quickly, but gymnosperms, particularly conifers, are generally better adapted to cold or dry environments.
According to Tulane University, gymnosperms were the first major group of plants to emerge after ferns and their allies, displacing that earlier group as the dominant land plants. Angiosperms arose relatively soon after, however, and quickly displaced the gymnosperms in turn. Their dominance was not as complete, however, since one group of gymnosperms, the conifers, still dominate in colder regions and at higher altitudes.
Angiosperms have more advanced tissues and much more diversity than modern gymnosperms, in large part due to their more effective methods of pollination. This is particularly true in areas where insect pollinators are plentiful. However, even with wind-pollinated species, such as grasses, their ability to grow quickly allows them to be the pioneer flora in many environments, starting environmental succession even where later stages are dominated by gymnosperms.