- Secondary succession follows a major disturbance, such as a fire or a flood.
- The stages of secondary succession are similar to those of primary succession; however, primary succession always begins on a barren surface, whereas secondary succession begins in environments that already possess soil.
- In addition, through a process called old-field succession, farmland that has been abandoned may undergo secondary succession.
An example of Secondary Succession by stages:
A stable deciduous forest community
A disturbance, such as a wild fire, destroys the forest
The fire burns the forest to the ground
The fire leaves behind empty, but not destroyed, soil
Grasses and other herbaceous plants grow back first
Small bushes and trees begin to colonize the area
Fast growing evergreen trees develop to their fullest, while shade-tolerant trees develop in the understory
The short-lived and shade intolerant evergreen trees die as the larger deciduous trees overtop them. The ecosystem is now back to a similar state to where it began.
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