Ecological succession Essay

Published: 2019-10-10 05:31:09
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Category: Ecological

Type of paper: Essay

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The process of change in a defined environmental area caused by gradual, orderly and progressive replacement of one biological community by another that results in formation of a stable (climax) community is called ecological succession. Depending on whether this change occurs on a previously unsettled area or on an area where ecological system was damaged by certain external impact two types of ecological succession are discerned ” the primary and secondary succession respectively. During the succession course changes in quantity and diversity of inhabiting species ossur.

On the early stages of succession, whether primary or secondary, few species that can grow in more or less harsh conditions inhabit the area. These species are called pioneer species, and biological community they form is called pioneer community. Pioneer communities have relatively low diversity and inter-species relations complexity, which are increased over time as pioneer inhabitants change environmental conditions in an area to more comfortable, thus creating possibilities for more fastidious species to colonize an area.

In an average pioneer community gradual accumulation of biomass and energy occurs. This is accompanied by the gradual increase of complexity of trophic chains that eventually form the trophic network of an late succession community. Late succession communities and final succession stage ” climax communities ” are characterised by significant complexity of inter-species relations and great diversity of inhabitant species. Large number of ecological niches are presented in an late succession community, and each of them is occupied by certain species.

Overall biomass productivity of late community decreases until, finally, in climax community it comes to naught. But energy flow throuhg the climax community surpasses overall energy flow of a pioneer community by far. This is explained by the fact that all biomass in climax community is engaged in dinamically counterpoised biomass and energy circulation while in pioneer community certain rate of overall biomass accumulation is observed and the community is not stable yet.


1. Vance R. R. (1998) Ecological succession and the climax community on a

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