The Effect of Succession Abiotic Factors

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Succession refers to the colonization of plant communities following a disturbance such as flooding, fire or pollution. Once the stress has been removed, natural processes allow an ecosystem to become reestablished.

Light

  • Light requirements differ for many plants. During succession, light can influence which plants can most readily colonize an area following a disturbance.

Soil

  • The type of soil can dictate which plants are able to become established. Clay soils can hold more nutrients, and sand soils do not hold as much water.

Water

  • Water is essential to all forms of life; however, the required amount varies among species. Water quality and quantity can play a strong role in promoting or inhibiting species colonization.

Nutrients

  • Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are often limited in successional areas. Species with lower nutrient requirements have a greater chance of successfully maintaining a population.

Time

  • Ecological succession is a slow process, relying on soil formation and vegetation communities. The amount of time required to reach a stable ecosystem is related to the size and intensity of the most recent disturbance.

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