Faculty Research & Creative Activity



Document Type


Publication Date

January 2011


Succession in a strict sense refers to the recovery and revegetation of an area following a disturbance such as the cessation of agriculture, the retreat of a glacier, or an intense forest fi re. Succession is a special case of vegetation dynamics, although many early ecologists referred to all vegetation change as succession. Succession includes a series of compositional and structural changes, often in a directional manner. The common occurrence of natural disturbances coupled with the extent of human activity on the planet makes succession one of the most ubiquitous ecological processes. Because invasion is a crucial feature of succession, understanding the nature and controls of community dynamics is important for the science and management of invasive species.


This chapter was originally published in the Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions, published and copyrighted by the University of California Press: http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520264212. The chapter is included here in full text by kind permission of University of California Press.