Ruderal species  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A ruderal species is a plant species that is first to colonize disturbed lands. The disturbance may be natural - for example, wildfires or avalanches - or a consequence of human activity, such as construction (of roads, of buildings, mining, etc.) or agriculture (abandoned fields, irrigation, etc.).

The word ruderal comes from the Latin rudus, meaning "rubble".

Ruderal species typically dominate the disturbed area for a few years, gradually losing the competition to other native species. However, in extreme disturbance circumstances, such as when the natural topsoil is covered with a foreign substance, a single-species ruderal community may become permanently established. In addition, some ruderal invasive species may have such a competitive advantage over the native species that they, too, may permanently prevent a disturbed area from returning to its original state despite natural topsoil.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ruderal species" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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