What Is an Example of a Pioneer Species?

A pioneer species is a species of plant that is highly resistant to threats and is the first to transplant into a previously untouched and undamaged ecosystem with examples such as bare rock, mosses, lichens, the Eastern Red-cedar tree, the Virginia Pine tree and the White Birch tree. Pioneer species provide a new level of ecological succession and add diversity to the ecosystem.

Once a pioneer species has transplanted itself into the ecosystem and colonized it, the environmental conditions in the ecosystem will be forever altered. This leads to new animals and plants coming in to the ecosystem. There will then be different animals and plant species that come out of these environmental changes. After a period of time where the environment is not disturbed, the process will repeat with another pioneer species.

The pioneer species alter the environment, both the abiotic and biotic environments. They do this by reducing the inhabitant's exposure to harsher weather such as heavy winds and extreme temperatures. They also stabilize the soil and add nutrients, including organic matter. The pioneer species will also often reduce the amount of light that comes into the environment and increase the soil's ability to hold water.