Concepts of community succession have been viewed from many perspectives because it is such an important aspect of ecology. This paper discusses some of the limitations of the classical concepts of succession when they are applied to northern ecosystems. We attempt to illustrate the range of community changes that are recognized by providing examples of random fluctuations, cyclic fluctuations and succession (sensu Odum 1969) under the heading of the temporal dimension. We also recognized that there is as spatial dimension to community succession which has received less attention in the literature and which, unfortunately, cannot be studied readily through traditional techniques. We highlight two models that have successfully captured the dynamics of ecosystems and we suggest that other simple models should be constructed to test management strategies. The results of alternate management strategies can be simulated and the output will determine if the strategy should be adopted or rejected.