Virtual Kollage: The interrelationship between plants, animals and micro-organisms in a forest environment

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The interrelationship between plants, animals and micro-organisms in a forest environment


Avenue, Trees, Away, Walk, Green, Nature
THE MAJOR COMPONENTS OF THE FOREST ECOSYSTEM AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
Introduction
When one talks about forest ecosystems, one is just referring to how the plants, animals and micro-organisms in a forest environment relate to the non-living factors that exist in the same environment. The scientific study of this relationship between the living and the non-living aspects of the forest is what is referred to as forest ecology.

COMPONENTS OF THE FOREST ECOSYSTEM
Biotic and abiotic elements of the forest
In a forest environment, one must definitely see trees, lots of them. These trees, among other things, protect the surface of the earth from the direct rays of the Sun and also slow down the speed with which raindrops hit the floor of the forest. Animals also form part of the forest. It must be noted that the kinds of plants and animals that inhabit a particular forest environment is determined by the kinds of trees, animals and micro-organisms that exist there.

There are two major components of the forest ecosystem. These are the abiotic and the biotic components. The abiotic components comprise such things as the soil, the moisture, the air and Sunlight. The biotic components on the other hand comprise the green plants within the forest environment. It also includes the decomposers and the transformers such as bacteria and fungi.

BREAKDOWN OF THE BIOTIC COMPONENTS AND THEIR FUNCTIONS
Producers
The producers are the green plants of the forest. These plants use energy they obtain from the Sun to manufacture their own food which is what they live on, a process that is technically called photosynthesis. Some categories of the forest animals use these green plants as their major source of food.

The green plants are in different layers. Some of the layers receive so much Sunlight to produce their food while other layers receive much less. There is an upper layer, a middle layer, the lower layer, the shrub layer and the herb and ground layer. The upper and the lower layers both produce food with Sunlight but the difference is that the upper layers use more Sunlight than the lower layers.

Consumers - herbivores
The next category of the biotic components is the consumers. There are various kinds of consumers too. These can be described as primary and secondary consumers. There are some kinds of animals that consume the green plants or the producers. They are the first level of consumers. One can mention animals like rabbits, grass-cutters, goats and sheep, and any grass-eating animal one can imagine. These primary consumers are referred to as herbivores.

Lion, Predator, Mane, Big Cat, Yawn 
Consumers – carnivores
The second level of consumers is those that feed on the primary consumers. In other words, after the primary consumers have eaten grass and are matured, they serve as food to animals like wolves, lions, tigers, hyenas and many other flesh-eating animals.

Yellow Mite, Macro, Lorryia Formosa
Consumers - decomposers and transformers
After a while, some of the producers and the consumers die. When they do, the decomposers and the transformers recycle them to be returned into the soil. The decomposers and the transformers mainly free the elements contained in the dead plants and animals so that they can be returned to the soil.

This category of consumers lives on the floor of the forest. Examples include fungi and bacteria, collectively called micro-organisms. They go into motion after the producers and the consumers die. The bodies of the dead animals and plants are literally eaten by the decomposers and transformers. This happens in two stages; first the decomposers convert the complex organic materials into simple organic compounds. Then second, the transformers convert the simple organic compounds into simple inorganic forms. After these, the freed elements are returned to the abiotic form to be utilized again by the producers and the consumers. Thus the cycle continues.

Conclusion
From the above discussion one can see the interrelationship that exists among the various players in the forests. The cycle has been going on since the beginning of known history and shall continue till infinity. When you see a decomposed animal in a forest near you, you will definitely remember the active players at work.


ALSO READ:
How a secondary school course in forestry can prepare you to save your forest
Six ways in which the forests in your country impacts your life

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