Rainforest succession

Title Info
Source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Forests
Forests Tropical rainforest
Change over time Succession
Succession Secondary succession
Lessons Disturbance; Succession
Date 1995
Location Sta. Elena Reserve,Puntarenas,Costa Rica,North America

Eighteen-year-old tropical rainforest, Sta. Elena Reserve, Costa Rica. The area in this image was cattle pasture in 1977, eighteen years before this photograph was taken. Although it would not be mistaken for primary or uncut forest, it is still surprisingly lush, especially considering that it is an upland site (at about a mile or 1500 m elevation) and therefore relatively cool for a tropical forest. This is a fine example of secondary succession, which is the regrowth of an area after a large disturbance (specifically, a disturbance that leaves at least some living material behind). In contrast, primary succession follows the complete killing of all living organisms, as would happen after a major volcanic eruption.