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Term Ecological succession
Definition

In the biological community, ecological succession refers to the predictable and orderly process by which a simple community becomes a complex and mature community. It is produced by the internal dynamics of the ecosystem, and in particular the changes made by organisms. In terms of individual species, it refers to the displacement of one species by another, allowing the latter to increase its dominance. It also refers to the progressive changes in plant and animal organisms of a single species with respect to their environment.

If ecological succession occurs in a previously unoccupied site, it is called primary succession or biological colonization. One example is the occupation of new slopes of active volcanoes by pioneer plants.

By contrast, if the succession occurs in a place that previously housed a biological community, it is called secondary succession and re-colonization. An example of this type of succession is the sequence of plant communities occurring in a wooded site that was previously cleared.


Additional Information
GraphicStages of Succession
Topic  BiodiversityEnvironmental educationProtected areas