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Jennifer SR
Jennifer SR, Consultant
Category: General
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Experience:  Professional Geologist, Exp. Manager, Great Research Skills
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Resolved Question:

Define succession and differentiate between primary and secondary succession. Consider an area in which a natural community such as a forest, stream, prairie, etc. (NOT a town or city), has been disrupted in your part of the world, and discuss the successional changes it has gone through or will go through to get back to the climax condition for your area. Do you think it will reach climax? Why or why not? If you are new to your area you may want to consider the secondary succession of an area you observed growing up such as a burned forest, clear-cut forest, or agricultural land that has been unused for years, etc.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Jennifer SR replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for choosing JustAnswer,

Succession is the process of change in species structure of a period of time. Primary succession begins with just rock or substrate that is exposed by a geologic event. Secondary succession begins with the soil that has been exposed from a previous community. A good example of this is Bulls Island in South Carolina. This is a coastal barrier island. It would have started as a sand substrate as barrier islands do. Until Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989, it was a maritime forest with live oak and Virginia oaks and scrub pine. The forest would probably be considered the climax condition for the area. When Hurricane Hugo hit, the area was devastated and most of the trees were wiped out. About 20 feet of tidal surge inundated the island and killed the oaks and pines. The changes are still occurring on Bulls Island because of the drainage changes from the storm and from the salt water that soaked the area. The trees that aren't tolerant to the salt water have died back and the ones that are more tolerant have increased in density. I think it will reach its climax again, but the diversity of the forest will have changed to more salt tolerant species such as sabal palms.

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