The Six Stages of Succession on a Newly Exposed Suface

A simple model of succession on a surface which has recently become exposed (secodary succession)

Refers to AQA A2 Geography, Ecosystems, Change and Challenge Unit

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  • LICHENS colonise the rock
  • These LICHENS produce acids.
  • The acids begin to WEATHER the rock.
  • This begins to form an embryonic SOILLICHENS ON WALL (source FSC) ( colonise a wall (souce: FSC)
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  • If the material is POROUS enough (e.g. brick), or when some rock has WEATHERED enough to hold WATER and SOIL particles, SEEDS of more advance plants may colonise.
  • MOSS is commonly found at this stage.Moss on an old car park (Source FSC) ( on an abandoned car park
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  • Dead moss and the minerals begin to form a SOIL.
  • This provides STABILITY, WATER and NUTRIENTS for the roots of more ADVANCED SPECIES to develop, for example OXFORD RAGWORT and NETTLES.
  • These RUDERAL SPECIES can tolerate the rubbish and debries found on the wasteland.
  • Plant succession is RAPID and plants have features of WEEDS.
  • Oxford Ragwort ( Ragwort colonsies at Stage 3
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  • Plant cover INCREASES and COMPETITION becomes more intense as colonisation proceeds.
  • Rapidly growing ANNUAL plants are replaced by PERRENNIAL GRASSES.
  • NETTLES and DANDELIONS, which are longer-living, invade.
  • Perrenials ( Grasses Dominate
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  • In time, dense thickets of BRAMBLE, HAWTHORN and ELDER develop.
  • SMALL SHRUBS become established in the cracks in the rock as soil gets deeper.
  • IVY and BRAMBLE can out-compete smaller plants as their roots grow into deeper crevices in the rock.
  • bramblesBrambles on wasteland
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  • Trees can only survive in DEEP SOILS, but some trees such as YEWS can grow on walls, even though their growth is stunted.
  • yew tree ( trees growing from walls
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