Components of Forest Ecosystem

Forest Ecosystem
Components of Forest Ecosystem: Abiotic components: Soil, moisture, air and sunlight. Biotic components: Mainly of three types Producers, Consumers, and Decomposers and transformers.

Producers: Producers are the green plants of the forest. They are the main sources of food for all the animals. There are several layers or strata of vegetation in the forest, namely 1. upper tree stratum, 2. middle tree stratum, 3. lower tree stratum, 4. shrub stratum, and 5. herb and ground stratum. Trees of upper most stratum receive and utilize greater amount of radiant energy of the sun that those of lower strata. The lower stratum consisting of herbs, lichens and grasses also manufacture food receiving least amount of light.

Consumers: 1. Consumer of first order in the forest are grasshoppers, rabbits, deer, monkeys, birds and many other wild herbivores which take their food directly from plants. 2. Consumer of 2nd order are wolves, jackals etc. which consume the flesh of herbivores. 3. Lions, tigers, hawks are the consumer of top level.

Decomposer and transformer: They are the micro-organisms living in the forest floor such as fungi and bacteria which attack the dead bodies of producers and consumers. The decomposers convert the complex organic materials into simple organic compounds. The transformers convert the simple organic compounds to simple inorganic forms. Thus, these free elements again return to the abiotic component and are reutilized by producers.

Competitive Exclusion Principle: If two different species compete for the same food source or reproductive sites, one species may be eliminated. This establishes one species per niche in a community.

Habitat: The place where an organism lives is known as habitat of that organism. In an ecosystem, different organisms perform different functions. The role that an organism plays in the ecosystem is known as its niche. So, the habitat is the addressand the niche is the profession’. For example, cow, bison, and goat although not closely related taxonomically, but occupy the same niche when present in a grassland ecosystem.

Ecological Niche: An ecological niche is the role and position a species has in its environment - how it meets its needs for food and shelter, how it survives, and how it reproduces. A species' niche includes all of its interactions with the biotic and abiotic factors of its environment. It is advantageous for a species to occupy a unique niche in an ecosystem, because it reduces the amount of competition for resources that species will encounter.

Individual ecological niche: Every living thing on Earth has a role to play in its environment. In fact, I am filling a niche right now as I writing this article. My niche also includes where and how I obtain food and all of the things I do in order to survive.

If I closely look at a typical habitat in the environment, I will see many organisms living and working together, fulfilling their ecological niches. For example, I am walking through the forest where there are leaves scattered on the ground and an old rotting log sitting on the forest floor. If I look closely, I could probably find earthworms just under the soil feeding on decaying organic matter. There could also be centipedes eating small beetles and other organisms as well as a colony of ants that work and feed on dead insects. I may even find a couple of millipedes strolling around feeding on decaying leaves. In this small section of the vast forest, all of these organisms are filling an individual ecological niche. To some degree, their niches may overlap, but if you look into all aspects of their lives including where they live, how they survive, and how they reproduce, you will see that they are each truly individual niches. You could think of each ecological niche as parts of a puzzle that go together to make the environment successful.

Importance: It is important to note that an organism has a greater chance for a successful life if their ecological niche is unique. Consider the mighty polar bears that inhabit arctic regions of the planet. While most organisms, including humans, would find the idea of living an isolated life in the vast cold tundra very unappealing, it works quite well for polar bears. They fill a unique ecological niche. Due to the harsh environment, they face very little competition; they are able to hunt and fish in relative peace and are an important part of their ecosystem.
Components of Forest Ecosystem Components of Forest Ecosystem Reviewed by Afsar on December 07, 2017 Rating: 5

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