Primary Succession can be defined as the process of growth in an area that was previously uninhabited, barren, unoccupied and there was no initial vegetation. On the other hand, Secondary Succession can be defined as the growth of the community in such area which was previously occupied, inhabited and that has primary vegetation but got disturbed or damaged due to some external or internal factors.
The example of Primary Succession is the newly formed bare rock, desert, ponds, etc., while the area covered under deforestation, or affected by natural calamities such as flood, earthquake, etc. are the examples of Secondary Succession.
The ecological succession can be defined as the gradual and natural process, of the development of the biological community. The time taken for such development can be decades or over million of years. The process begins with the growth of a pioneering community, initiate from the bare rock, the lichens, and few plants species.
The next is the development of the intermediate species which includes the grasses, shrubs, trees like pines, etc. The last is the climax community which got developed into the oak and hickory types of shade-tolerant trees.
‘Succession‘ is a part of directional temporal changes in a community – which refer to the changes a single location; these can be seasonal, diurnal or long term changes. The process of ecological succession is divided into two parts – Primary Succession and Secondary Succession. In this article, we will mark out the difference between the both along with the small description on them.
Content: Primary Succession Vs Secondary Succession
|Basis for Comparison||Primary Succession||Secondary Succession|
|Meaning||It is the kind of ecological succession, which occurs or start from the barren, uninhabited and unoccupied areas, such as the newly formed pond, rock, dunes, etc.||Such kind of succession, which occurs in the area where there was the existence of life previously but got abandoned due to natural disturbances, such as flood, tsunami, earthquake, etc.|
|Where it occurs||It occurs in a lifeless or barren area.||It happens in an area, which has been recently got deprive of life and was previously inhabited.|
|Time taken for the completion of the process||1000 years or more.||50-200 years.|
|Soil||There is the absence of soil at the starting of the process, and the condition is not suitable for sustaining life.||The soil is present, along with some organisms.|
|Humus||The absence of humus, as there is no soil.||Secondary Succession shows its existence in the presence of humus.|
|Seral Community||There are numerous intermediary seral community.||There are few intermediary seral community as compared to primary succession.
|Pioneer Community||It is present and comes from outside.||It gets develops from the migrants and previous occupants.|
|Favorable environment||In the beginning, the environment is unfavorable.||The environment is favorable, since the beginning.|
|Reproductive structure||Absent of any previous community.||Present of the previous community use to live in that area.|
Definition of Primary Succession
Primary Succession is the initial stage of the development of any community. As it starts growing from the area where there is no suitable condition for sustaining life. Gradually the advancement goes on, from the barren area, rocks and non-vegetative fields to the expansion of the developed community. The evolution is so slow that it takes thousands of years to build such area.
Primary Succession is the first life form to appear in any environment, whether it is a terrestrial, marine or fresh water. In this case, there is no previous living material present. And the organisms which establish themselves in the initial stage are called the primary colonizers or pioneer and community of that species is called primary community. Lichens and algae are the typical examples of this succession.
Definition of Secondary Succession
The community that existed previously, but has been removed due to the natural disturbances. Even the land still marks the presence of the essential nutrition, which is required by all forms of life to grow. This kind of succession occurs in the forest, which has been cut recently, plowing fields, flooded lands and the area which were destroyed due to natural calamities.
Key Differences Between Primary Succession and Secondary Succession
Given below are the substantial points, for distinguishing between both kind of ecological succession:
- Primary Succession is defined as the type of ecological succession, which occurs or start from the barren, uninhabited and unoccupied areas, such as the newly formed pond, rock, dunes, etc., while such kind of succession, which occurs in the area where there was the existence of life previously but got abandoned due to natural disturbances like deforestation, natural calamities (flood, earthquake, tsunami), the field with no vegetation is known as Secondary Succession.
- Primary Succession occurs in the lifeless or barren area while Secondary Succession occurs in an area, which has been recently got deprive of life and was previously inhabited.
- Time taken for the completion of the process in Primary Succession is more than 1000 years while Secondary Succession takes place around 200 for its completion.
- There is the absence of soil and humus at the starting of the process, and the condition is not suitable for sustaining life, but in Secondary Succession soil and humus are present, along with some organisms.
- Intermediary seral and pioneer community are present in number in Primary Succession whereas the presence of intermediary seral community few in numbers and pioneer community gets develops from the migrants and the previous occupants.
- In the beginning, the environment is unfavorable for the growth in Primary Succession but in case of Secondary Succession, the environment is favorable, since the beginning of development.
We can say that the ecological succession is the sequential progression, evolving the new species. These changes at the stage of climax condition produce a stable community, which is dominated by a particular kind of species as those were only able to cop up in that environment. Hence this kind of succession is necessary and fruitful to the environment, to maintain the ecological balance.