Natural succession - Pennsylvania Sedge, Staghorn-Sumac (Photo by Mary Gartshore)
"Succession is the change from one habitat or community type to another.
This can be seen where, for example, an agricultural field changes from an open meadow into a shrub land and, if left untouched, eventually forest.
Natural disturbances (flooding, ice storms, fire) can stop or reverse succession. As trees, shrubs and organic material are removed, other plants needing open conditions grow.
How can disturbances help promote natural succession?
Some habitats, including prairies in southern Ontario, depend on disturbances to maintain them. If succession in these places continues, native plants and animals may be lost.
What is NCC doing to help promote natural succession?
In Norfolk County, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has been restoring open agricultural fields and speeding up the process of natural succession by reintroducing native plants characteristic of the Carolinian Life Zone.
Hundreds of hectares have been restored by NCC in Norfolk County. Restoration of these agricultural fields has included direct seeding of tree nuts and acorns, along with wildflower, grass and shrub seeds.
Want to see an example of natural succession in action?
Take a walk along the eastern sections of the Backus Block trail to see natural succession in action.
Supported by the Weston Family Foundation.