ecological succession


[suh k-sesh-uh n]
  1. the coming of one person or thing after another in order, sequence, or in the course of events: many troubles in succession.
  2. a number of persons or things following one another in order or sequence.
  3. the right, act, or process, by which one person succeeds to the office, rank, estate, or the like, of another.
  4. the order or line of those entitled to succeed one another.
  5. the descent or transmission of a throne, dignity, estate, or the like.
  6. Also called ecological succession. Ecology. the progressive replacement of one community by another until a climax community is established.

Origin of succession

1275–1325; Middle English < Latin successiōn- (stem of successiō) a following (someone) in office, equivalent to success(us), past participle of succēdere to succeed + -iōn- -ion
Related formssuc·ces·sion·al, adjectivesuc·ces·sion·al·ly, adverbnon·suc·ces·sion, nounnon·suc·ces·sion·al, adjectivenon·suc·ces·sion·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for succession

2. See series. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for ecological-succession


  1. the act or an instance of one person or thing following another
  2. a number of people or things following one another in order
  3. the act, process, or right by which one person succeeds to the office, etc, of another
  4. the order that determines how one person or thing follows another
  5. a line of descent to a title, etc
  6. ecology the sum of the changes in the composition of a community that occur during its development towards a stable climax community
  7. in succession in a manner such that one thing is followed uninterruptedly by another
Derived Formssuccessional, adjectivesuccessionally, adverb

Word Origin for succession

C14: from Latin successio, from succēdere to succeed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ecological-succession



early 14c., "fact or right of succeeding someone by inheritance," from Old French succession (13c.), from Latin successionem (nominative successio) "a following after, a coming into another's place, result," from successus, past participle of succedere (see succeed). Meaning "fact of being later in time" is late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ecological-succession in Science


  1. The gradual replacement of one type of ecological community by another in the same area, involving a series of orderly changes, especially in the dominant vegetation. Succession is usually initiated by a significant disturbance of an existing community. Each succeeding community modifies the physical environment, as by introducing shade or changing the fertility or acidity of the soil, creating new conditions that benefit certain species and inhibit others until a climax community is established.♦ The sequential development of plant and animal communities in an area in which no topsoil exists, as on a new lava flow, is called primary succession.♦ The development of such communities in an area that has been disturbed but still retains its topsoil, as in a burned-over area, is called secondary succession. See more at climax community.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.