Community Changes

Forest fires are considered a major community disturbance.

In what ways do communities change over time? What factors may instigate those changes? Do all communities change at the same rate? Why or why not?

Abiotic and biotic factors create apparent changes in community dynamics. In many cases, changes are due to some disturbance, or an event that removes biomass, in the environment. Although disturbances may vary in frequency and severity, they almost always alter resource availability in some way. Because of this, the disruption impacts the environment beyond the initial changes. The community continues to be altered in different ways over time to restore the balance that has been lost.

Communities do not change at the same rate because the disturbances that initially alter them can be of different types, severity and frequency. The response of the community to the disturbance in the time following it is also unique to each area. Regrowth after a period of destruction is called succession, and it is dependent on three specific factors. The traits of the species in the area determine their ability to cope with the disturbance, the ability for species to still interact properly and effectively determines balance restoration, and the history of the habitat disrupted is also a fundamental factor. Under the category of regional history falls climate conditions, size of the affected area and chance.


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