Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Ecological Monographs, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Jul., 1945), pp. 297-319. Copyright 1945 Ecological Society of America. Used by permission.


The study of plant succession has contributed more than any other single line of investigation to a deeper insight into the nature of vegetation. Earlier studies of succession, especially in grassland, were largely those of the primary sere. But with the utilization of the prairies for grazing, and the abandonment of submarginal land after a short period of cropping, numerous investigations of secondary successions were made. The earlier studies have been discussed by Clements (1916) in "Plant Succession." Sampson's plant succession in relation to range management appeared in 1919. Many of the more recent investigations of subseres in grassland and on abandoned lands have been reviewed by Drew (1942). Costello (1944) has studied the grassland subsere in northeastern Colorado. Weaver and Albertson (1944) have traced the subsere following the recent great drought over a vast central area of both true and mixed prairie. Information on the rate and nature of natural re-vegetation of depleted ranges and abandoned cultivated land is of basic importance to many problems of soil conservation and land use.