Diversity-biomass relationships are frequently reported to be hump-shaped over space at a given time. However, it is not yet clear how diversity and biomass change simultaneously and how they are related to each other over time (e.g. in succession) at one locality. This study develops a temporal model based on the projected changes of various community variables in a generalized terrestrial environment after fire and uses post-fire succession data on Santa Monica Mountains of southern California and other published succession data to examine the temporal diversity-biomass relationships. The results indicate that in the early stages of succession, both diversity and biomass increase and a positive relationship appears, while in the late stages of succession, biomass continued to increase but diversity usually declines; thus a negative relationship may be observed. When the scales of measurement become sufficiently large so that the measured diversity and biomass cross various stages of succession, a 'hump-shaped' relationship can emerge. The diversity-biomass relationship appears to be concordant in space and time when appropriate scales are used. Formerly proposed explanations for spatial patterns may well apply to the temporal patterns (particularly colonization, facilitation and competitive exclusion).