Virtually all plant communities experience, from time to time, disturbances that remove all or some of the plant biomass. Thus, diversity is influenced heavily by disturbance
=is the directional change in community composition and structure over time.
• "begins" when a disturbance is followed by colonization or re-growth of the disturbed site by plants
• Natural, gradual changes in the types of species that live in an area; can be primary or secondary • The gradual replacement of one plant community by another through natural processes over time
Causes of Plant Succession • Autogenic succession (2 types) can be brought by changes in the soil caused by the organisms there. These changes include
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• in habitats where communities were entirely or partially destroyed by some kind of damaging event. • When an existing community has been cleared by a disturbance such as a fire, tornado, etc...and the soil remains intact, the area begins to return to its natural community. Because these habitats previously supported life, secondary succession, unlike primary succession, begins on substrates that already bear soil. In addition, the soil contains a native seed bank. • Since the soil is already in place, secondary succession can take place five to ten times faster than primary succession. • Circle of life: disturbance(grasses(shrubs(small trees(climax forest • The Climax Community • A climax community is a mature, stable community that is the final stage of ecological succession. In an ecosystem with a climax community, the conditions continue to be suitable for all the members of the community. • Any particular region has its own set of climax species, which are the plants that are best adapted for the area and will persist after succession has finished, until another disturbance clears the area.
Species Traits determine the course of succession