Pioneer species like moss and lichen can grow on rocks by developing roots in cracks on rocks that other species can’t grow on. These then die and are decomposed by bacteria or other organisms. After this, soil is formed over time and bigger plants can grow on top.
After an event such as a forest fire, the soil needs pioneer species to help as well. Birch trees are a good pioneer species in this event. Their deep roots can draw up nutrients which will later be deposited back on the soil when the leaves fall.
Also, pioneer species cover the soil, and help prevent erosion from removing the slowly-accumulating soil.
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