Brooklin Lions Wilderness Trail > Trail Guide > Post 2

Revised Sept. 15/00. The latest version of the guide is always available on

Post 2: Succession

Nothing succeeds like success! Especially in nature. Ecological succession is the gradual replacement of one natural community of living things by another. The area in which you are standing was deforested long ago for crop and pastureland. Around 1970, the land was left fallow and has developed into the field community which surrounds you.

Over time this community with its herbaceous plants will be replaced by woody shrubs and trees such as poplar and aspen. At each stage the new community will slowly create the conditions that will encourage the growth of new species of plants but not allow its offspring to survive.

As a result, this field will be replaced by shrubs and cottonwoods, then by coniferous trees, and finally a climax community of maple, beech, and hemlock forest. The saplings of these trees can survive the shady conditions created by their parents and the climax community will remain barring climate change, natural disaster, or human intervention.

Hey Kids!


Nature changes during the day. What do you think it is like here at night? Well, starters it is darker. Is it cooler or warmer? Is it dryer or damper. Would there be more animals moving about or less?


Nature changes during the seasons. What do you think it is like here in the winter? Think about the temperature, the trees and other plants, the animals, and the soil.


Nature changes in different places. You’re standing in Ontario. What do you think it’s like right now in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil? What do you think it’s like on the tundra of Baffin Island in Nunavut?


Nature changes over time. Hundreds of years ago this was a forest. A few decades ago this was a farmer’s field. What do you think it will be like here a hundred years from now?

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