The key difference between ecological succession and rural succession is that ecological succession is a natural process of changes while rural succession is a process of changes brought about by planning through human intervention.
Whenever we hear the word succession, images of heirs to thrones of erstwhile empires and kingdoms flash across our eyes. But, this article pertains to ecological succession, which is an important concept in ecology and our environment. It is basically a process that takes place naturally and consists of stages that result in the establishment of a final community. There are changes in both biological as well as physical components of a habitat as a result. The final community established with the help of changes brought about by natural forces often works best. On the other hand, rural succession describes the planning that is essential to preserve rural communities.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Ecological Succession
3. What is Rural Succession
4. Similarities Between Ecological Succession and Rural Succession
5. Side by Side Comparison – Ecological Succession vs Rural Succession in Tabular Form
What is Ecological Succession?
Ecological succession is the gradual process by which ecosystems change and develop over time. It starts from an area where life does not sustain. Hence, this phenomenon is called primary succession. The ecological succession can be explained nicely when considering the changes that take place in a barren land that is not inhabited by human beings. Best examples of ecological succession in such circumstances are rocks and other inorganic material. In this case, the environment lacks vegetation and soil and new substrates such as flowing lava or a new area left behind by retreating glaciers gets exposed. In the case of a lava flow, primary succession results in colonization of the area by pioneer species such as lichens or fungus and later by organic matter such as plants, grasses, ferns, and herbs. Moreover, in later stages, animals approach the ecosystem and a climax community gets established.
Secondary succession is a process where an environment is first cleared up and goes back to its earlier stage. For example, if wildfire destroys a part of a forest, it returns to its earlier stage containing grasses, weeds, and shrubs. This is a situation that attracts herbivores that depend upon these plants for their food. All this while, the unburnt part of the forest continues to support all the species that previously existed as well as carnivores that eat herbivores.
What is Rural Succession?
Rural succession refers to planning that is necessary to preserve rural communities. Many people do not know that farmlands and their continuance or discontinuation can have a big impact on the rural economy. The future of agricultural farmland is often dependent upon the readiness of successors of these farmlands. The term has gained currency because of the alarming rate at which big farmlands are decreasing in the country because of the young generation getting attracted to professions other than farming.
The importance of farming for rural communities can never be underestimated and this is where rural succession planning is essential. This helps people in rural communities to understand how important farming is for both rural as well as urban communities and also for sustainable development.
What are the Similarities Between Ecological Succession and Rural Succession?
- Both ecological succession and rural succession talk about gradual changes over time.
- They are important concepts with respect to living organisms and ecosystems.
What is the Difference Between Ecological Succession and Rural Succession?
Ecological succession and rural succession are two types of succession processes that occur in the environment. Ecological succession explains the gradual changes that occur in an ecosystem while rural succession explains the gradual changes brought about by planning through human intervention. So, this is the key difference between ecological succession and rural succession.
Moreover, ecological succession is important in order to understand how the community develops, vegetation grows and how communities establish in an ecosystem, while rural succession is important to preserve rural communities. Therefore, we can consider this also as a difference between ecological succession and rural succession. Also, there are two types of ecological succession processes as primary and secondary succession, but rural succession has no types.
Below infographic summarizes the difference between ecological succession and rural succession.
Summary – Ecological Succession vs Rural Succession
Ecological succession is a gradual and natural process of the development of a biological community. There are two types of ecological successions as primary succession and secondary succession. Primary succession takes place in an area which is lifeless. Secondary succession occurs in an area where life has existed and then damaged. On the other hand, rural succession refers to a process of changes brought about by planning through human intervention. It is imperative to help rural communities to survive as more and more people leave their farmlands for other professions. Hence it is a kind of planning that is necessary to preserve rural communities. Thus, this summarizes the difference between ecological succession and rural succession.
1. Thompson, John N. “Ecological Succession.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 25 Sept. 2018, Available here.