Difference Between Primary Succession and Secondary Succession

Main Difference

The communities or habitats we see today weren’t as green and full of life from the very beginning. It underwent different changes (natural or unnatural) to be what they are today. Our planet Earth has also undergone several succession as theories suggest that our planet was once a hot ball which cooled down in thousand years and finally prove to be the habitat for livings. These are the temporal changes that keep ongoing in the communities, it can also be called the natural development of biotic communities. These temporal changes are of two types, directional changes and non-directional changes. The directional changes happening within the community are regarded as succession. Further there are two main types of succession, Primary and Secondary Succession as both the word suggests one comes first and the other one follows it. Primary Succession is a type of ecological succession that happens to the area that is devoid of vegetation, and is barren or lifeless. On the other hand, Secondary Succession happens to the area that has the preexisting soil and had previously inhabited before the disturbance or intervention that led to reduction and devastation of initial inhabitants and their habitat.

Comparison Chart

Primary SuccessionSecondary Succession
DefinitionPrimary Succession is a type of ecological succession that happens to the area that is devoid of vegetation, and is barren or lifeless.Secondary Succession happens to the area that has the preexisting soil and had previously inhabited before the disturbance or intervention that led to reduction and devastation of initial inhabitants and their habitat.
Area of happeningPrimary succession happens to the place which has no soil and is lifeless.Secondary succession happens to the place which already has soil, humus and some inhabitants.
DurationIt takes long time for completion it can either be 100’s or 1000’s of years.It can happen in between around 50-200 years.

What is Primary Succession?

Primary Succession is one of the two types of ecological succession that happens in the environment which is barren or lifeless. In other words we can say that the land it occurs on is devoid of vegetation as it has no soil, which means no humus or remains. It takes place on the lifeless area, it can either be the newly formed sand dunes that might have been affected previously by the lava flow or retreated glacier. These barren areas have no sustainability for lives, therefore the primary succession makes it able enough to be the habitat for living. It is a long process that can take 100’s or even 1000’s of years. The theory about Earth that it was once a hot ball, which later cooled down and became reliable for living, is one of the examples of primary succession.

What is Secondary Succession?

Secondary Succession is the type of ecological succession that happens to the area that has the preexisting soil and had previously inhabited before the disturbance or intervention that led to reduction and devastation of initial inhabitants and their habitat. With the word secondary coming in this succession it makes clear that it follows up some succession. Secondary succession works as a predecessor to the primary succession. The area secondary succession happens on once had a life, and has soil along with some inhabitants. It usually occurs in the area which is disturbed or damaged due to intervention and once had everything a stable habitat posses. As soil, humus and some inhabitants are already present it doesn’t take as much as long in to form a sustainable habitat.

Primary Succession vs. Secondary Succession

  • Primary Succession is a type of ecological succession that happens to the area that is devoid of vegetation, and is barren or lifeless. On the other hand, Secondary Succession happens to the area that has the preexisting soil and had previously inhabited before the disturbance or intervention that led to reduction and devastation of initial inhabitants and their habitat.
  • Primary succession happens to the place which has no soil and is lifeless, whereas, secondary succession happens to the place which already has soil, humus and some inhabitants.
  • Primary succession takes long time for completion it can either be 100’s or 1000’s of years, whereas secondary succession can happen in between around 50-200 years.

Comparison Video

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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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