Ecological Succession in a Changing World Essay Sample Ireland
This essay sample will focus on the definition and stages of ecological succession along with the process of vegetation succession in the terrestrial ecosystem.
Ecological succession is the study of biological communities in an established natural environment. It is a process of change in various species structure in an ecological community in a given frame of time.
An ecological succession process includes community shift and drastic change after being disturbed by natural calamity or factors which help in adopting a new habitat. Such changes can include lava flow, wildfires, waterlogging, landslides, etc.
Stages of Ecological Succession
‘Succession’ is a scientific term that is used for explaining the long term progress of the biological communities in a given specific area or region. It has three phases called the primary, secondary, and climax state of communities.
It mainly focuses upon the plant or vegetation succession of an area but animals also do a shift in response to any change in the habitat that takes place around them.
Primary Ecological Succession
Primary Succession takes place when the organisms for the very first time in an area colonize and such an area does not hold any prior life and was already barren.
After a lava eruption, the place underneath starts getting cold forming new rocks with surfaces. First organisms are mostly single or multicellular like algae, fungi, mosses, and lichens which easily colonize in these areas.
The first species formed after any such disturbance is called pioneer species.
After this, a layer of soil is build up in such areas where many advanced plants such as grass, rooted ferns, and plants grow in it.
After successful colonization of plants and habitats, animals such as insects, birds, vertebrates start coming to the place colonizing the area further.
Secondary Ecological Succession
Secondary Succession is a better-advanced stage than the primary stage of succession. Most of the major plants and animals are part of this stage and are a fast-moving community that is moving gradually moving towards its climax.
Most of the biological communities experience disturbances in the form of natural events that are taking place and setting back the progress of succession. (wildfires, floods, waterlogging, etc.)
Due to the forest fire, the trees and animals get burnt down and after the fire stops in a few months we see the cold in the woods where there is no sign of life. After some more few months green algae and fungi starts growing on the barren surfaces and then eventually plants start growing.
It brings a new range and species of life in the form of vegetation and then animals start inhabiting in these areas. There is a change of habitat and ecological system.
Climax State of Communities
The climax is the final biological state of community in ecology and is most likely to be stable in an area or region.
The biological communities do not change their state or structure in a given area of the landscape, forests, mountains, valleys, etc. It includes vast areas of land with an advanced species of plants and animals.
The climax communities depend upon the external climatic conditions for their survival in a given specific area or region. For example, rainfall, air quality, soil, altitude, humidity, temperature, and other weather conditions.
Succession in the climax state is not affected by any change in the seasons. The moment any succession ceases the composition of plant or animal species does not change with time it is known as a ‘climax community’ and a ‘state of equilibrium is achieved.’
Process of Vegetation Succession in Ecosystem
Vegetation can range from herbs, grasses, shrubs, plants, and mosses and all the plant changes its composition, shifts its location over a period of time called the ‘vegetation succession.’
Vegetation in any area depends upon factors like the landscape (soil, nutrients, water cycle, etc), the types of products or resources that society can produce and develop, and identification of management opportunities and hazards.
The most important element for any vegetation succession on lands is the ecological site and the community resilience.
An ecological site is a specific unique area of vegetation on a given landscape that has specific homogeneous, physical, biological, and chemical characteristics. It is capable to produce a distinct amount and type of vegetation.
It also includes the environmental factors and other elements for the development of vegetation in the area including the disturbances.
Vegetation is not uniform in an ecological site and plants of the same species can grow in different regions in different communities.
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The above sample highlights the ecological succession process and the factors causing it.
Components Specification Ecological Fields Methods QQI Level 5, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Ecology and Environment QQI Level 6 students can read this essay to have a good knowledge of science related to ecological diversity.
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