What Is Secondary Succession?

Save

Secondary succession refers to the regrowth of a habitat in the area where a disruptive event has occurred and eliminated the existing, above ground plant life of the natural habitat. The disruptive event may be a forest fire, tree harvesting or a hurricane. The disruptive event causes only the plant life above ground to stop growing. Underground plants and seeds that have not sprouted above the ground's surface are often preserved. These seeds and plants begin the secondary succession.

Natural Process

  • Secondary succession is only possible if some plant life remains after a disruptive event. The plant life may be underneath the ground as a new plant, or above the ground as a plant or tree, that has somehow survived the disruptive event. As the new plant life emerges from the soil and is pollinated and germinates into new plants of the same species, the plant life of the area is renewed.

Artificial Process

  • At times, human intervention aids secondary succession. Some clear cutting companies employ a special team to aid the regrowth of deforested areas. Artificial support for secondary succession may include clearing away of ash, distribution of naturally occurring seeds and fertilization of seeds and existing plants.

Primary Succession

  • Secondary succession differs from primary succession in that primary succession describes the growth of new life in areas where a previous habitat has not existed. Secondary succession occurs as a replenishment of a destroyed habitat, while a primary succession is the first generation of a new habitat. New habitats for primary succession include landslips, faces of quarried rocks and cliffs, and within the debris of volcanoes, where no previously existing plant life has survived.

Secondary Succession Stages

  • As a habitat revives from a disruptive event, the secondary succession is marked into different stages. The first stage includes the growth of pioneer species that attract birds and insects back to the area. The pioneer species include annuals and perennials like grasses and flowers and small bushes often found in fields. The second stage is the intermediate species of bushes, shrubs and evergreen trees that begin to develop about ten years after the disruptive event. The final stage, often referred to as the climax stage, is present after the intermediary stage has developed into a full habitat reminiscent of the area before the disruptive event.

Time Frame

  • The time it takes a habitat to regenerate through secondary succession takes between 30 and 60 years, dependent upon the types of trees and plants in the area. The final climax stage should be as the habitat was before and previous wildlife should begin to re-enter and constantly inhabit the area.

References

  • Photo Credit "Waterfall Palenque Mexico one of my favorites" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: zoutedrop (Bart Hiddink) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
Promoted By Zergnet

Resources

You May Also Like

  • Role of Ecological Succession in Ecosystems

    Without ecological succession, Earth would be much like Mars. Ecological succession provides diversity and depth to a biotic community. Without it, life...

  • Definition of Biological Succession

    The term "biological succession" refers to the progression an ecosystem follows as it changes over time. Scientists refer to individual stages of...

  • What Are Primary & Secondary Succession?

    Succession refers to the ecological order in which plants populate a given environment. Primary succession is the population of an ecosystem that...

  • Stages of Ecological Succession

    Succession is a scientific term describing the long-term progression of biological communities that occurs in a given area. Ecological succession breaks down...

  • Factors of Ecological Succession

    Ecological succession is the process by which an environment changes structure, in terms of resident species, over a period of time. Ecological...

Related Searches

Check It Out

This Is the Beauty Routine of a Yelp Sales Manager

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!