Succession is a natural, directed process, and changes that occur at one stage or another are characteristic of any community and do not depend on its species composition or geographic location.
In general terms, the phenomenon of ecological succession can be characterized by the following provisions:
succession is a natural process, the course of which can be foreseen.
Succession is the result of changes that communities themselves make to the habitat, that is, the process is not set from the outside.
The succession ends with the formation of a climax biocenosis, which is distinguished by the greatest diversity, and, consequently, the most numerous connections between organisms. Thus, the climax biocenosis is maximally protected from possible disturbances from external influences and is in a stable state.
When an ecosystem approaches the final stable state of menopause, in it, as in all equilibrium systems, all development processes slow down.
Observations of successions show that some specific properties of biocenoses change in one direction, whatever the type of succession.
Let’s formulate them.
The most general patterns of evolution of biocenoses:
- species of plants and animals are constantly changing.
- The species diversity of organisms is increasing.
- The sizes of organisms grow in the course of succession.
- Linear food webs dominated by herbivores are transformed into complex food webs. Detritivorous forms (consumers of dead organic matter) begin to play an increasing role in them.
- Biological cycles are lengthening and complicated, organisms are becoming more and more ecologically specialized.
- The biomass of organic matter is increasing. There is a decrease in the net production of the community and an increase in the intensity of respiration.