What is an ecological succession? – Importance, characteristics and stages
Nature is something of the utmost importance that we are surrounded by and many times We don’t know its origin. Depending on the area in which we live, whether it is rural or a city, we will be able to observe with greater intensity how the vegetation, flora and others create their own ecosystem. In fact, have you ever wondered how it is possible that there could be plants or a specific species of animal in a place where the conditions to do so did not exist? That’s what ecological succession is all about.
This series of changes can be seen more today, since, with the evolution of technology, the terrestrial ecosystem could be improved and thus bring almost any species of animal or plant to a place where it is not common to see . One of the clearest examples of this may be the large vegetation found around certain volcanoes in Hawaii. Since it is assumed that, due to existing environmental conditions, it should not be possible to observe. Next we will show you what the natural succession is and everything related to its evolution.
What is an ecological succession?
Now, it is known that an ecosystem can be created through human intervention or by letting nature do its job and shape the soil, plants and beings that will integrate it. However, ecological succession consists of how time and space are affected by nature. In other words, it is about evolution and how a simple soil or wasteland that did not have any type of vegetation, over the years, becomes an area rich in biodiversity.
The environment and biology could surprise us with the changes and evolution that they can show. We can take the tropical forest and the vegetation that can be seen there as an example of ecological succession. It is possible to observe plant species that, due to the hot climate, cannot be found. However, due to different factors such as soil temperature, the species of microorganisms and animals that are there, these can be kept for a long time as long as conditions continue to allow it.
What is the function of an ecological succession?
On the other hand, this process has a very useful function for the environment and what is the evolution of the ecosystem in which it occurs. The main function of an ecological succession is to analyze and describe each of the changes through which a given space passes. That is to say, it is demonstrated, through the studies, each one of the aspects that an ecosystem possesses and how the process of evolution through which it has passed since it was a soil or terrain without any form of life is seen.
In addition to this, it allows us to see the appearance of new species and microorganisms that had not been observed in that space. As well as their extinction. Since they cannot withstand the conditions of the environment. That is, due to aspects of evolution, some of these living beings develop the capacities to maintain themselves, reproduce and survive in this type of ecosystem. For this reason, it is of great importance to know what the adaptation of living beings is and how it is possible to observe more in one species than in another.
What are the characteristics of an ecological succession?
On the other hand, there are certain aspects that are of great relevance and that are taken into account when observing and studying the ecological succession process or natural. Next, we will show you the most notable characteristics of it:
- It analyzes the procedure and the evolution of geographic space and biology through technology and samples taken from it.
- You can see the extinction and appearance of species that have prevailed or not due to the weather conditions and the ecosystem to be studied.
- It has several stages, which show how the passage of time has been and the way in which the space and the beings that inhabit it have been affected.
- Help to better understand how evolution is of some species of plants, animals and microorganisms in biology that developed an adaptability to environments where they could not be before.
- It has several mechanisms that help favor the colonization and proliferation of species that had not been observed in that area. An example of this are animals or plants that have high reproduction rates and that, in turn, attract other species that will end up helping in the evolution of the ecosystem being studied.
What are the stages of ecological succession?
However, being a procedure that occurs naturally, it consists of certain phases that allow us to observe its evolution and how time and space are affected by it according to its period. Next we will show you what are the stages of succession in ecology:
- The primary succession: These are spaces that have been formed recently and are ready to be inhabited and colonized by different species or microorganisms for the first time. This usually happens quite often in the field of ecology. Especially in volcanic eruptions that occur near the coast. The main reason for this is because, by combining lava with water, a rock is formed which, together with other climatic factors, is the ideal space for species to colonize that area and can gradually create an ecosystem. sustainable.
- The secondary succession: It is that procedure by which a new ecological space is re-formed due to the destruction of the previous one. That is, at some point before, there was an ecosystem with characteristics that made it sustainable and full of life. However, due to factors such as deforestation, floods, earthquakes and others, all life forms that were in it became extinct. This gives way to the creation of a new ecological succession and new species come to colonize that space that was destroyed by factors of nature or human intervention.
What is the importance of ecological succession?
This process occurs on a daily basis and, although it cannot be observed with the naked eye due to the time that must elapse for it to happen, it is something that is quite necessary for life forms to be maintained on planet Earth. Ecological succession is extremely important because, from it, forms of life are created in land where previously it was not possible that they were maintained It may not sound like something of great relevance to the human being. However, the formation of plants in the vicinity of volcanoes in Hawaii can be taken as a clear example.
These are very useful in the formation of sustainable ecosystems, which can be a great source of resources for human beings without the need for them to interfere in the first phase of ecological succession. In addition to this, it allows to study and analyze how it evolves in order to be recreated in controlled environments. This is not an easy thing. However, if you have the necessary resources, you can adapt vacant lots and turn them into areas full of flora and fauna that were not there before.
Examples of ecological successions
Now, as it is a process that has several stages and that has been studied for a long time, new cases have been discovered that reach a large scale and that are worth analyzing. Next, we will show you some of the most common examples of ecological successions:
- Woods or abandoned land: These are one of the most common places where you can see this process. In general, it occurs after the habitable conditions that were in it were destroyed by external factors. Thus allowing the arrival of new species.
- Volcanic eruptions: These give way to the creation of new lands that are suitable for a new ecosystem.
- Mining areas: It occurs after human intervention by removing certain layers of the earth’s crust.