Pandolfi, J. M. (2008). Succession. In Sven Erik Jørgensen and Brian Fath (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Ecology (pp. 3416-3424) Oxford: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-008045405-4.00547-4

Author Pandolfi, J. M.
Title of chapter Succession
Title of book Encyclopedia of Ecology
Place of Publication Oxford
Publisher Elsevier
Publication Year 2008
Sub-type Chapter in reference work, encyclopaedia, manual or handbook
DOI 10.1016/B978-008045405-4.00547-4
Open Access Status
ISBN 9780080454054
Editor Sven Erik Jørgensen
Brian Fath
Volume number 4
Start page 3416
End page 3424
Total pages 9
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subjects 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified
050102 Ecosystem Function
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Ecological succession has a history of over 100 years in ecology. It refers to the way in which communities change over time, and the relative role of early- and late-colonizing species, disturbance, and life-history characteristics in shaping the sequence of communities at a particular site. After many decades of research the mechanisms underlying successional change in communities and directional species replacements are still fiercely debated, and many believe that succession does not adequately explain ecological dynamics. Nevertheless, several key examples continue to demand explanation and the search for generality in community succession continues. Perhaps one of the most promising avenues involves a modeling approach based on individuals of the community and the role of life-history traits among interacting species. The newly emerged field of ‘restoration ecology’ has shown particular interest in the ideas of succession as the management and possible restoration of degraded habitat demands knowledge of the mechanisms which cause particular associations of species to develop. Regardless of whether ecological succession is a highly deterministic force structuring ecological communities through time, or represents a more stochastic process dependent upon the vagaries of sequence of invasion of species, or it solely represents the passage of time, study of the long-term ecological dynamics of species and communities is fundamental to ecology.

It is remarkable that a subject with so long a pedigree as community assembly during succession should be so poorly understood, and so lacking in basic data. (Lawton, 1987, p. 240)
Keyword Autogenic
Climax community
Community ecology
Environmental change
Life history
Species invasion
Q-Index Code BX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Additional Notes v. 1. A-C -- v. 2. D-F -- v. 3. G-O -- v. 4. P-S -- v. 5.T-Z and index.

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Created: Mon, 27 Apr 2009, 12:45:21 EST by Peter Fogarty on behalf of Centre for Marine Studies