||Natural regeneration will, on its
own, eventually produce woodland in most areas where the soil and climate are not
limiting. This takes place through a process of succession.
Bare ground will be colonized by quick growing herbaceous plants and grasses.
In time, woody shrubs, young trees and scramblers such as bramble overtop the herbaceous
plants, shading them out. This is the thicket stage. Pioneer tree species such as Birch
will continue to increase in height, often shading out the underlying shrubs. In their
turn, the pioneer trees will eventually be replaced by slower-growing, but larger trees
such as Oak and Beech.
To achieve a climax (final stage in the succession) mature
Oak woodland, for example, may take centuries. Humans being an impatient species, tree
planting is the answer to creating a woodland more rapidly than nature would perhaps do,
if left to itself.