What is primary ecological succession?
In this lesson we will investigate the process of secondary succession. Where does it happen? Why does it happen? How does it happen? What does it look like?
Secondary Succession…What is it?
Have you ever seen the movie Bambi? Remember the scene when the fire rages through the forest and all the animals race ahead, trying to escape its roaring progress? It seems as if that fire is killing everything in its path…so what happens after a fire like that burns itself out? Does the land that was forest or grassland stay barren, charred and empty? Of course not! Small plants, primarily what we would call weeds, start to grow in the first few months after the initial devastation and in a few years, trees and shrubs may have sprouted, making the scene of the disturbance much more inviting.
This process of regrowth that an ecosystem undergoes after a destructive event such as a fire, avalanche, agricultural clearing, deforestation, or disease - just to name a few - is known as secondary succession. There are several expected stages in secondary succession, which are actually very similar to those of primary succession, but one thing is important to keep in mind: for secondary succession to occur, there must already be, you guessed it, dirt!