This is defined as the several progressive transformations in a region with a particular community substituting for another until a climax community is established. In order words, ecological succession is the transformation of biological community in a particular environment over a period of time. It starts from where little or no life exists in an area (i. e. primary or secondary succession) and progresses till a time it gets to a relatively stable climax community.
This established climax community is made up of both plants and animals and the number of animals present is largely dependent on the number of available plants. The climax community is usually regarded as the definitive community. Ecosystems pass through different changes in their framework and function with the passage of time. While some affect a smaller area of coverage, others constitute major changes and may affect the totality of the ecosysytem. Ecological succession is an integral part of natural condition of an ecosystem and as such slight changes always occur even in a climax community.
The changes may be effected by pollution, climate changes, fire outbreak or the system itself. There are two types o succession namely the primary and the secondary succession. In primary succession, the onset of the ecological succession is in a place where no life existed before and this is unusual nowadays but is a possibility on sand dunes and lava flows, volcanoes, and in area of new ponds in which case the land was previously covered by ice sheets or glaciers and so on.
Despite the fact that there may technically be existence of life in a recently formed water body, it could still be referred to as sites of primary succession. Under suitable and conducive conditions that support living things, the eel grass as well as algae takes their position in water bodies, the lichens and also mosses appear on the rocky areas and furthermore, some plants also are rooted inside the soil and a good example of this is the Ammophilia grass.
There is also the possibility of bacteria being the pioneer specie and can also be the climax community in certain environments. Immediately the primary succession species otherwise called the pioneer species get to a region, they slowly gather up in the soil, build their nutrients and involve in the preparation of this area for the remainder species. For instance, Ammophilia survive on sand dunes and its established roots help the cottonwood to thrive on this stable sand.
However, once they die, less hardy species are taken care of and a slow build up of genuine topsoil is formed leading to eventual transformation of dunes to a prairie or wood land. Human Impact on Ecological succession Human activity such as overgrazing, flooding clearing of the forest, construction works as well as farming lead to secondary succession which is commoner than the primary succession.
Other activities that lead to secondary succession include drought, wild fire, flooding as well as new species invasion and introduction. Here, the vegetation is destroyed by human activities leaving the soil behind. Unlike the primary succession where pioneer species are more of algae and lichens, the species in secondary succession favored more of graminoids, herbaceous plants and foods which multiply speedily and makes use of the preformed nutrients in the soil.
Once the process began, new communities accompany each other in sequential pattern and these communities are regarded as seres or the seral communities. The early seral stage is characterized by the various plants that are cultivated for the consumption of Humans and they are usually small but transient plants that utilizes majority of their energy in the multiplication and generating seeds with a very high content of energy . The fruits are the typical plants in the middle seres and not capable of survival in the climax community.
Furthermore the type of crops that are developed are usually the ones in the early seral stages and as such are in a state of disequilibrium and need to be maintained artificially and this involves the application of herbicides, pesticides fertilizers, manure as well as fertilizers by man. Moreover because the involvement in farming by man usually make use of a wide, large areas of land coverage for the planting of crops the process of succession is reversed leading to the termination of complex ecosystems and also massive extinctions and biogeochemical cycles on a very extensively large scale.
Due to these activities of man, such removal of the ecosystems can subsequently lead to the process of soil erosion which then hamper and alter the organized process of nutrient recycling. In conclusion, Succession is a highly important and significant issue most especially in the field of agriculture and farming where the demand for improved and increased yield is directly and frankly responsible for fundamental conflicts that occur in the ecosystem.
GORDON MARSHALL. “Ecological succession. ” A Dictionary of Sociology. 1998. Retrieved from www. Encyclopedia. com. On 18 Jun. 2009 <http://www. encyclopedia. com