How does ecological succession occur?
Ecological succession is a gradual process by which ecosystems change and develop over time. Nothing remains the same and habitats are constantly changing.
A bare patch of land will not stay bare. It will rapidly be colonised by a variety of plants. In the process of succession, the species present in an area will gradually change. Each species is adapted to thrive and compete best against other species under a very specific set of environmental conditions. If these conditions change, then the existing species will be replaced by a new set of species which are better adapted to the new conditions.
This process helps an ecological community to undergo a more or less orderly and predictable change following a disturbance, or the initial colonisation of a new habitat. The succession that occurs in new habitat uninfluenced by pre existing succession is called primary sucession, where as sucession that follows disruption of a pre existing community is called secondary sucession.
This process takes place because living, growing, and reproducing organisms interact with and affect the environment within an area, gradually changing it.
Sucession is directional. Different stages in a particular habitat sucession can usually be accurately predicted. Sucession will not go further than the climax community. It may occur on many different time scales, ranging from a few days to a hundred years.