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Succession willow

Secondary succession - succession, whose starting point is the ecosystem modified by man - eg. a semi-natural or artificial. In Poland, this kind of succession can be observed most on agricultural land, mainly fields and meadows fallow because of poor soil. Secondary succession seeks to recreate a natural community characteristic for the local environmental conditions. Its stages are usually slightly different from those in primary succession, because its starting point is different. Secondary succession leads to almost total ecosystem restoration of a rather simple structure - both spatial and nutrient.

However, in most cases there is no complete reproduction of ecosystem identical to that from destruction because:

  • of irreversible change in the species composition of biocoenosis due to the extinction of certain species or the appearance of new ones
  • of a change in physicochemical conditions of the environment due to human activities
  • ecosystem was very complex, then in most cases the ecosystem does not regenerate

The process of succession, which occurs in those areas where previously occurring flora had been destroyed (regression) and the habitat has been converted to varying degrees, populating such locations is done using propagules from the outside. Secondary succession is a process that occurs frequently on fallow land, abandoned meadows, post-fire areas etc. Areas which are devoid of forest are invaded in the first instance by pioneer species, which thanks to their biological and ecological properties  (eg. a rapid growth in youth, early blooming, a good crop, anemochoria, ligh-loving, high tolerance in relation to habitat) appear before other species using and transforming the extreme environmental conditions into the optimal conditions for the life of individual organisms, populations, and consequently the entire biocoenoses. Recreative secondary succession leads to the regeneration of the final woodland that existed previously, while creative secondary succession is a process  leading to the formation of final community, different from that which originally existed in a particular location.

Reference: Faliński J.B. 1991. Ecological processes in forest communities. Phytocoenosis 3 (N.S.) Sem. Geobot. 1: 17-41.