Trends in Succession - Ecology
Succession is an important aspect of change in ecosystems and a simple description of successional communities the beginning of the story. We need to know at a more fundamental level what is happening during succession because this might give some clue as to why it happens. During primary succession, for example, from an aquatic habitat or a bare rock to climax woodland, there are certain obvious changes in the vegetation and soil. For example, increase in community biomass, and development of soil containing dead organic matter mainly from a largely mineral substrate. These changes are linked with many other ecosystem features. For instance, energy flow and nutrient cycling. Succession may begin with a bare area colonised by small plants and may culminate in a community of large plants whose growth form results in increased vertical stratification and a marked influence on the environmental conditions within the community. Many such changes, enumerated in Table, are quite characteristic of ecological succession.
Table: Changes in Ecosystems during Succession