Ecological succession stages and processes with examples Upsc

Ecological succession

Ecological succession

Ecological succession definition

Ecological succession is a series of steps and a continuous process where life comes backs to normal, evolves in a given area with respect to changing environment.

Or Simply, It is the process by which the structure of a biological community evolves over time in a particular area.

There are two types of Succession one is Primary and another one is secondary succession.

Primary and secondary succession

Primary succession and secondary succession are related to the presence of soil and the absence of soil. Primary ecological succession is the one in that life starts primarily in a lifeless area and absence of soil such as barren rocks, sand dunes, glaciers, recent lava flows, etc.

primary succession examples are areas of the volcano eruption, Oil spills, Retreat of the glacier, barren rocks, Landslides, severe soil erosion caused by flood and rains, abandoned man-made structures.

Primary succession begins with the growth of inhabitants such as lichen or plants, that can survive harsh conditions such as bare rock, retreating glaciers.

These lichen/grasses break the rocks, modify the soil, which is then colonized by other plant communities. Thus ecological succession occurring on rocks is called Primary succession.

Primary succession in water

It is also called Hyrach. It will lead from hydric to mesic conditions. Small organisms such as Phytoplanktons will appear first. Then Zooplanktons appear and feeds on the Phytoplanktons. In the next phase, the soft mud that lies on the bottom which is rich in organic matter favours the growth of rooted submerged plants such as Hydrilla, Utricularia, Vallisneria, Chara, Ceratophyllum.

Then gets replaced by Hydrophytes (floating) such as emna, Salivina, Azolla, Wolffia, Pistia, etc.

primary succession examples

Secondary succession definition

The secondary succession happens basically in the presence of soil. That is a place affected by forest fires, floods, landslides, etc. Where everything gets affected but the soil is present in the same place. Life starts to evolve in that soil that is present in the same place.

Secondary succession is a type of succession, where the plant and animal recolonize a particular habitat or area after a major disturbance. examples of secondary succession are: A habitat disturbed by forest fire, landslide, Human activities. But soil remains intact, the species recolonize in it.

Plant Succession

Plant Succession is the series of processes of replacement of one plant community by another plant community. The plant community which is first developed in barren habitat is known as the Pioneer community and the plant community which replaces or invades the existing community is known as the climax community.

Natural succession

Succession is a natural process, where the communities of vegetation develop and evolve over time.

Lichens play an important role in the early stages of succession by accessing the minerals in the bare rock and helping them to weather to start the process of creating the soil.

During the process of ecological succession:

  • Species diversity decreases
  • One community replaces another until stable, mature, climax community species is established.

Sere Ecology

  • A Sere Ecology or Seral Community is an halfway or intermediate stage found in ecological succession in an habitat progressing towards its peak community.

Types of Sere Ecology

  • Hydrosere – Community in Water
  • Lithosere – Community on rock
  • Psammosere – Community on Sand
  • Xerosere – Community in dry area
  • Halosere – Community in Saline body

Importance of ecological succession

  • It helps in monitoring the invasion or unequal growth of any animal.
  • It helps in reforestation.
  • Without ecological succession, a disturbed or destroyed ecosystem would never recover.
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* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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