Succession A Case Study – Poynton Park and Pool – an arrested hydrosere
Some Definitions : Just to remind you! §Sere: Another name for succession. A set of stages of evolution of an ecosystem. §Pioneer stage: First stage in a sere which is dominated by opportunist species. §Climax stage: Final stage in a sere where all species are in balance.
Glossary of Keywords : another reminder!! SuccessionThe sequence of changes in a plant community as it moves towards a “seral climax” SereA stage in the development of plant communities towards climatic climax. Climax Community The group of species that are at a dynamic equilibrium with the prevailing environmental conditions – in the UK, under natural conditions, this would be oak woodland. PlagioclimaxWhen a plant community is permanently influenced by people – it cannot reach climax because of burning, grazing, deforestation Primary succession or priseres Beginning on bare ground, or water Secondary succession or subseres Beginning after the destruction of existing vegetation Pioneer speciesThe first plants to colonise an area Sub climaxWhen vegetation is prevented from reaching its climax due to interruptions by local factors (e.g. soils) Arresting factorsThe factors that cause succession to be interrupted
Hydrosere: §The gradual conversion of ponds and lakes to forest ecosystems. §With time ponds and lakes are gradually filled with eroded sediments. §The sediments moves in the shorelines and eventually fills in the lake. §The plant sequence is as follows: lake plants, reeds, grasses, shrubs, & trees.
Poynton Park : a hydrosere in arrested succession. Macclesfield Borough Council manage the Park and the Pool which together cover an area of 21 hectares.
Initial water source for the Pool from the mining industry. This area is now an example of climax vegetation with oak woodland, a shrub under layer. It is protected from human interference by being fenced off allowing only grazing by rabbits and other animals. Gardens of houses along Anglesey Drive arrest the natural succession by cutting back vegetation in their gardens. Sluice gate on the west bank allows water to leave the Pool and succession is therefore stopped as the flow of water is too great. Anglers (primarily) along the west bank also limit the growth of vegetation as Stockport Angling Federation cut back vegetation for pegs while maintaining larger trees as cover for fish. At the south end of the Pool the flow of water is less and therefore succession is more advanced with a shallowing of the water, increased nutrient content and a greater variety of hydrophytic plants. Large areas of the Park are used as grazing for sheep by local farmers. The sheep will reduce the diversity of naturally occurring vegetation by grazing but will add nutrients to the soil through dung.
Poynton Pool looking south east – note the reeds at the water’s edge and the willow trees in the water on the left.
What evidence of ecological succession can you see in this photo? A clear photo ‘through’ succession – what stages can you see?
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