New Jersey USA
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Using 48 permanent, 0.5×2.0 m quadrats, changes in species composition and cover were followed in an oldfield abandoned after plowing in the spring of 1960. Twenty years of data collected since then show the succession to be individualistic, that is, composed of broadly overlapping population curves through time. In general, the population curves exhibit long, persistent tails, indicating that, through this time span, succession is a process in which species that are present for much of the time become dominant at different times. Invasion and extinction are not the major mechanisms of community change. Bi- or multi-modal peaks were discovered in some species, but there is no clear explanation of such patterns yet. Many species which are important later in the sequence invade early. Information on the biologies of representative species from early, middle, and late portions of the sequence are correlated with the population patterns. In particular, the mode of dispersal, life cycle, germination behavior, and assimilation requirements are related to species positions. However, there is need for coordinated, comparative study of species strategies as well as experimental study of species interactions in order to more fully understand the mechanisms of this succession. The patterns discovered in this oldfield are compatible with contemporary concepts of succession as an organism-based phenomenon, in which probabilistic gap creation and filling are critical.
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