Examples of ecological succession
Ecosystem succession, also called "ecological succession, " is the process through which a natural community of plants and animals changes after a disturbance. It is generally understood that ecological succession is a progressive movement towards the most stable community (also called a "climax community"). This kind of succession is the manner through which natural communities respond to disturbances and changes.
Ecosystem Succession is Based on Ecological Disturbance
Disturbances to natural communities can be both elemental and man-made. Fires, floods, wind storms, landslides, and avalanches are some examples of elemental ecological disturbances. While logging, mining, farming and urbanization are examples of man-made disturbances.
Primary, Secondary and Cyclical Succession
Primary ecosystem succession is when a community first forms in a newly created or exposed area such as a sand dune or bare rock surface, lava flow, or a new lake created by flooding. In a sense, this is as if the community forms from a "clean slate" ecologically speaking.
Secondary succession is when a community was disturbed by human or elemental forces. This form of succession tends to be much more rapid as some of the vital elements such as soil, nutrients and seeds are already present at the location at least to some extent. An example of this kind of succession is a forest recovering from a major forest fire or logging event.
Cyclical succession is when a community is changed by recurring events or changing interactions with species of plants or animals. An example of this is the repeated fire cycles of the coastal chaparral ecosystem of California. Read more about it below.
Types of Succession
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What are the stages of primary succession in ecology?
One possible scenario for primary succession begins with the appearance of simple plants, such as lichens and mosses. (More?)