Herb stage - xerarch, Biology

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Herb Stage - Xerarch

The Soil-forming and soil-holding reactions of the mosses are so pronounced that the seeds of various xerophytic herbs, especially short-lived annuals: are soon able to germinate and grow. The plants mature, although the first generations, because of the drought and sterility of the soil, may make only a stunted growth. Their roots continue the process of corroding the rock, and each year the humus from their decaying remains enriches the soil. Gradually, biennials and perennials begin to invade the area and with the habitat becoming more and more favourable, their numbers also increase.

The processes of rock disintegration and humus and nutrient accumulations are greatly increased, as the tangled network of roots increases and the soil becomes shaded. Evaporation and temperature extremes are decreased, humidity is slightly increased, and drought periods are shortened. The bacterial, fungal and animal populations of the soil increase and conditions gradually become less xeric. Up to now, some xerophilous, shallow rooted grasses like Aristida, Festuca and Poa were growing. As the conditions improve, then some drought-enduring species like Potentilla, Solidago and many others invade the area. As a result of growth of the herbs, the smaller plants like mosses and lichens do not get enough light. So these conditions are detrimental for their growth, they gradually start perishing.


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