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  Succession, in ecology, is the process by which biological communities respond to environmental disturbance. A common pattern of succession is a progression from simple, transient beginnings towards a more complex, stable climax community. Thus a newly exposed bare rock provides a niche for simple plants such as lichens and mosses; as these plants contribute to the effects of weathering and the rock begins to break down to form a thin, patchy soil, other plants such as grasses can begin to grow. The weathering process is accelerated and still larger plants such as shrubs and trees colonize the habitat. Thus the community evolves through a succession of phases, each characterized by certain species types. Ultimately, a dynamic equilibrium is attained where the community is stable until an environmental shift or disturbance occurs. The process of succession may be seen in a situation where the human activity has caused environmental disturbance—thus if a building plot is left derelict, the first plants to colonize will be weeds, appearing within days. Provided the land remains undisturbed, shrubs and then trees begin to grow. RB

See also competition.



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Other Terms : Crossing Over | Telekinesis | Masque
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