Several scientists are prominent in the history of this theory:
Adolphe Dureau de la Malle was the first to use the word succession. He wrote about the process of re-growth after trees in a forest had been cut down.
Henry David Thoreau described succession in an Oak-Pine forest in "The Succession of Forest Trees" in the year 1859.
Henry Chandler Cowles developed a formal concept of plant-growth succession. Henry's work was based on studies of sand dunes in Danish by Eugen Warming. Cowles proposed the term sere. This is a repeat of changes which are shown in specific environmental circumstances.
↑Connell, Joseph and R. O. Slatyer. (1977). "Mechanisms of succession in natural communities and their role in community stability and organization," The American Naturalist, Vol. 111, Issue 982, pp. 1119–44.