The main component of any environment is living and non-living things. Both are linked with each other in nature where the continuous exchange of material takes place between the living things are also linked with other living things they depend on each other for food. Thus the living things interacting with other living organisms and with such things as light, heat, air, water, soil and different mineral from a balanced system called an ecosystem.
(1) LIVING COMPONENTS OF ECOSYSTEM
The living component of an exosystem consists of a community of animals and plants of all types. Green play the role of producer in the exosystem while animals are the consumers since they eat plants.
Some animals. however, eat other animals. They are secondary consumers. The remains of animals and plants are decomposed by bacteria and fungi which play the role of decomposer in the ecosystem. Ecosystems vary in size.
Energy is required to maintain an ecosystem. The sun is the main source of energy. Plants use sunlight to prepare their food which is distributed through the food chains among other living things of the ecosystem.
(2) NON-LIVING COMPONENTS OF ECOSYSTEM
Non-living materials such as water Carbon-dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen are also used by living things and are being replaced in nature continuously through respiration, transpiration combustion, and decay.
The exchange and circulations of material between living and non-living things continue in an ecosystem in the form of various cycles.
All things organisms depend on each other for food. Many animals like goats, cows, horses, and rabbits feed on plants. They are known as herbivores. Some animals like lion, leopard, wolves, and foxes live on other animals. They are known as carnivores. Those animals which live both on plants and animals are known as omnivores.
All animals directly or indirectly depend on plants. It is because plants are the only producer of food. Someone might say that lions do not eat plants. That is true, but the lions do depend on animals like deer, cow, goat, etc, which food on plants. An owl similarly may eat a lizard. The lizards feed on insects and insects live by eating plants, thus there exists a relationship between plants and animals. This relationship between animals and plants and animals and animals for food is known as the food chain.
PYRAMIDS OF FOOD CHAIN
When the food chain is shown in the diagram. it makes the shape of a pyramid.
At the base of the pyramid are planted. Organisms occupying a higher level in the pyramid are called consumers. The number of producers is always greater than the number of consumers. The consumer is classified as primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. This depends upon the position which each of them occupies in the pyramid.
For example, in the figure, the rat lies at the primary level. The snake occupies the secondary level since it eats rats. For this reason, the hawk is called a tertiary consumer since it eats snakes.